The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats
The Second Coming Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. (lines 5-8)
These lines are a big part of the reason that the poem has resonated with so many people in the 20th century. They "blood-dimmed tide" hints at the huge mass movements like Fascism and Communism that "drowned" out the few, timid pockets of reason that remained. The good people are like couch potatoes who aren’t motivated to doing anything.
A gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun (line 15)
"Blank and pitiless" seems scary and menacing, but is it evil? We think it’s more of an animal indifference, like staring into the eyes of a hungry grizzly bear, or at a scorching sun.