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"The Second Coming" is a response to a world wracked by violence. Yeats wrote the poem 1919, right after the end of World War I, in which 16 million people were killed in a horrifying display of the power of modern technological warfare and of the continuing conflicts that wracked the supposedly modern, civilized world. The poem voices a sense of shock, dismay, and pessimism about the future that many felt after the war. Lines like "blood-dimmed tide" and "mere anarchy is loosed upon the world" both eloquently describe the horrific chaos of war and violence.