What Beast Slouches Towards Bethlehem?

What does slouches towards Bethlehem to be born mean?

In this poem Yeats describes an apocalypse coming, and a new Messiah, described as a Sphinx, is come to ravage the world, being born into the world at Bethlehem. The verb slouching is basically to trudge; or, to move lazily. When Yeats writes “… Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,” he means it approaches slowly.

What does William Butler Yeats symbolize with the rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem in his poem The Second Coming?

Of great significance in Yeats’ poem is the “rough beast,” apparently the Anti-Christ, who has not been born yet. And most problematic is that the rough beast is “slouch[ing] towards Bethlehem to be born.” The question is, how can such an Anti-Christian creature be slouching if it has not yet been born?

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What is the rough beast?

The only thing not doing any slouching these days is the “rough beast” in W. B. Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” the 1919 poem from which the phrase originates: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

What does the beast represent in the Second Coming?

Thus the beast represents the kingdoms that will bear rule over the world from Adam until the second coming of Christ.

Who are the worst in the Second Coming?

Yeats is referring to sides in the Irish political conflict, complaining that “the best” won’t commit to a full-out rebellion against the English, while the worst are loud and boisterous, but ineffective in their actual actions.

What does Widening Gyre mean?

The ‘gyre’ metaphor Yeats employs in the first line (denoting circular motion and repetition) is a nod to Yeats’s mystical belief that history repeats itself in cycles. But the gyre is ‘widening’: it is getting further and further away from its centre, its point of origin.

What does the falcon symbolize in The Second Coming?

The falcon, separated from the falconer, is lost: without reason, without ruler, without larger cause. It is a symbol for a lost humanity, at the mercy of uncontrollable forces.

What is the message of the poem The Second Coming?

Yet for all its metaphorical complexity, “The Second Coming” actually has a relatively simple message: it basically predicts that time is up for humanity, and that civilization as we know it is about to be undone. Yeats wrote this poem right after World War I, a global catastrophe that killed millions of people.

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What does the center Cannot hold mean?

That “the center cannot hold” is an ironic reference to both the imminent collapse of the African tribal system, threatened by the rise of imperialist bureaucracies, and the imminent disintegration of the British Empire.

What does blood dimmed tide mean?

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere. The ceremony of innocence is drowned; These three lines describe a situation of violence and terror through phrases like “anarchy,” “blood-dimmed tide,” and “innocence […] drowned.” (By the way, “mere” doesn’t mean “only” in this context; it means “total” or “pure.”)

What does the Falcon Cannot hear the falconer mean?

The figure of the falcon in the poem represents man and the civilization he has built. But because of the gyres’ constant turning, the gap between the old and the new is widening, so much so that we’re becoming separated from Christ. This is what Yeats means by “The falcon cannot hear the falconer.”

Does the center hold meaning?

It means chaos is descending upon the world; the forces that should bring order are failing to do so. It is a line from a poem by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War – and if it doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you may in fact be dead.

What does gyre mean in The Second Coming?

A gyre in “The Second Coming” refers to a spiral or a circular motion, but it also stands for the larger cycles of history. Yeats believed that an orderly gyre or cycle of history that began with the birth of Christ was ending, about to be replaced with a new historical cycle of chaos and cruelty.

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What does rocking cradle symbolize?

Although 2,000 years seems like a long time to us, Yeats compares it to a single night of an infant’s sleep, which is suddenly “vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.” The cradle reinforces the image that something has recently been “born,” and its motion also serves as a metaphor for social upheaval.

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