Leda And The Swan Analysis

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Violence, Language, and History
Throughout the poem “Leda and the Swan”, William Butler Yeats retells the story of the Greek God Zeus, who takes the form of a swan in order to seduce the impeccable woman Leda. Typically, in the Greek culture the swan is thought as birds with beauty and grace with the symbolization of elegance and peacefulness (Baurelein). This is ironic because the use of the swan could have been used as a disguise for the Greek God Zeus. Yeats wanted the reader to understand the Greek background in order to get a full understanding of the poem while reading as he references to the Greek Mythology many times. Leda gets taken advantage of throughout the poem by the swan and Yeats demonstrates this through the vocabulary, violence, and the History of the Greek mythology.
The language throughout the poem switches between aggressive and passivity. As the poem begins, it starts with three abrupt words “A sudden blow” (Yeats 1), these three words leave the reader feeling abrupt as it is a violent start to a sonnet. Sonnets are usually about love (Baurelein) and in this case Yeats has taken his own perspective and wrote a part of Greek Mythology his way. The first verse sets a scene of violence, which could demonstrate how Leda attempts to fight back against the swan and not let her be overpowered. Yeats’ use of language contrasts with the readers thinking of what the actual meaning Yeats is trying to explain. For example, the word “blow” (Yeats 1) could be
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