C. The central theme of the poem “The Second Coming”.

The central theme of the poem “The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats revolves around the idea of chaos, uncertainty, and a profound shift in the world order. The poem reflects the poet’s apprehension about the turbulent state of the world in the aftermath of World War I and the impending societal changes. The theme is conveyed through vivid and symbolic imagery that captures the disintegration of established norms and the emergence of a new, unsettling reality.

The poem opens with the line “Turning and turning in the widening gyre,” which introduces the image of a falconer losing control of his falcon as it spirals outwards. This imagery symbolizes the loss of order and the spiraling chaos in the world. The reference to the “centre cannot hold” further emphasizes the breakdown of stability and structure.

The title itself, “The Second Coming,” alludes to a major transformation or event that is imminent. This “second coming” is not a religious reference to the return of Christ but rather a metaphor for a significant, disruptive change on a global scale.

The iconic lines “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” encapsulate the poem’s central theme. The imagery of things falling apart and anarchy being “loosed” underscores the sense of fragmentation and disorder that has gripped the world. The speaker’s description of “the best” lacking conviction while “the worst” are full of passionate intensity speaks to the unsettling paradoxes that have arisen.

The poem also introduces the concept of a “rough beast” slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. This image of the beast symbolizes a powerful force or entity that is emerging, hinting at a radical shift in the world’s order. The use of “Bethlehem” juxtaposes this imagery with the religious connotations of the birthplace of Christ, emphasizing the contrast between the hopeful anticipation of a savior and the foreboding presence of the beast.

Overall, the central theme of “The Second Coming” revolves around the idea of upheaval, chaos, and the breakdown of established norms and structures. The poem captures a sense of profound transformation and uncertainty, reflecting the poet’s attempt to grapple with the tumultuous state of the world and the profound shifts that were occurring during the early 20th century.

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