In his poem, "The Second Coming", William Butler Yeats uses strong, precise syntax to make the reader feel the intensity of his words while conveying a dark atmosphere that gives the reader an uncertain and seemingly hopeless sense of what is to come. Some would argue that "The Second Coming" is referring to the second coming of Christ because of the religious aspects of the poem; but I believe that the poem is a warning, telling the reader of the downfall of man that we will bring upon ourselves rather than by Christ.
Particularly in the first stanza, Yeats uses punctuation to separate each point that he is trying to project. Each semi-colon represents a singular, complex idea while commas are used to contrast the idea within the semi-colons. Each pause in the poem is focusing on a specific idea. Each break forces the reader to contemplate the different aspects of destruction. Words such as "anarchy", "blood-dimmed", and "vexed" are used to magnify the intensity of the poem. Reading the words may not have much of an effect, but saying them out loud bring thoughts of suffering and pain to one's mind.
The overall atmosphere is one of death, destruction, and hopelessness following, I believe, the First World War. This atmosphere molds the same tone into the reader with words such as: "The blood-dimmed tied is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned;" (5-6). Yeats uses these types of phrases to demonstrate just how difficult it was to live with oneself in those times. No longer can a person go about his merry way. Atrocities have been committed and everyone is guilty. Each person must live with the blood that he has spilled.
Written in 1921, this poem is not about the second coming of Christ, it is about how out-of-control we have allowed the world to become after World War I. Line by line, each stanza conveys the heartache experienced after the war to end all wars.