The poem “The Second Coming” by Yeats and the play “The Peach Blossom Fan” by K’ung Shang-jen are significant and out-standing literature artworks. For this essay, I have chosen the fragment of “The Peach Blossom Fan” dedicated to the marriage of Hou and Fragrant Princess. After a long period of separation, Princess and Hou finally find each other and really enjoy their meeting as their separation caused them to suffer very much. This statement may be confirmed by the words of Hou “How long I suffered in the dusty world” (142) and Fragrant Princess “Oh, the longing for you has almost caused my death” (143). They are intended to stay together forever.
However, Chang considers their intentions as miserable and preventing the spiritual development, especially if to take into account the events taking place in the country at that times (the war, country’s separation, etc.). It is confirmed by the following Chang’s words “How laughable to cling to your amorous desires when the world has been turned upside down!” (144). Similarly to “The Peach Blossom Fan”, the poem “The Second Coming” also states that the world has changed. However, in “The Second Coming”, these changes are fatal and leading to an apocalypse “Surely some revelation is at hand (9);/ Surely the Second Coming is at hand (10)” which is depicted as the huge beast “A shape with lion body and the head of a man (14),/ A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun (15),/ Is moving its slow thighs (16)”.
Returning to the play “The Peach Blossom Fan”, Chang decides to make an attempt to persuade the youths from their desire to stay together and convince them to go to the Taoism cloisters. He says: “Two piteous passion-clinging bugs! Where now is the nation, where the home where the prince, where the father? Can’t you get rid of this miserable infatuation? /Alas for silly youths, /Ignorant of the changing of their world…/Can’t you divine love’s final dissolution…/Are you not ashamed to hear/ The laughter your performance brings? /Are you not ready to follow /The broad highway of Escape” (144). By means of these words, Chang tries to convince Hou and Fragrant Princess that it is impossible to dedicate one’s life to the spiritual development and continue living as the usual human with humans needs, and compromise is impossible. We can meet the same idea in the poem of Yeats “The Second Coming”. As it is stated, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” (3). That means that today’s world exists in the conditions of controversy among radically opposite things (for example, the controversy between spiritual and usual human’s life).
Like “The Peach Blossom Fan”, “The Second Coming” states that spiritual improving cannot coexist with “miserable” passions. This statement is confirmed by the following words “The best lack all conviction, while the worst (7) /Are full of passionate intensity. (8)” That means that in order to be “the best” it is necessary to get rid of all usual passions and desires which are typically present in the human nature.
Chang’s words reach the youths hearts and they decide to follow Chang’s advice. As Hou says, “I hear your words and wake from my dream, drenched in a chilling sweat” (144). Fragrant Princess also easily agrees to go. She says, “I go. All is illusion” (145). Thus, this piece shows that young people prefer to choose the spiritual life rather than “miserable passions” and achieve the Escape.
Shang-jen, K’ung. The Peach Blossom Fan. Boston: Cheng & Tsui. 2000. Print.
Yeats, William Butler. “The Second Coming”. Poetry Foundation. 1989. Web. 8 Nov 2013