Charles Baudrelaire: the Swan

Topics: Ovid, Lyric poetry, Urban planning Pages: 2 (478 words) Published: August 25, 2013

Published: 1857
Main theme: Criticism of industrialisation and the destruction of Paris Mode of Characterisation: presented with melancholy
Mood: sombre, disheartened, nostalgic
Tone: saddened, negative, slow, nostalgic
Form: French lyric poem

The narrator, whom we assume is Baudelaire himself highlights how he was become and alien in his own city. The urban renewal and industrialisation has replaced familiar sights and landmarks he had loved. The swan is a symbolically a projection of himself, like the swan he too had been taken from his native land and home. Baudelaire also plays on our understands that not only is he similar to the swan, but so too the orphans; separated from their parents, and lost sailors and captives never to return to their true home.

Allusion / Greek Mythology
Baudelaire relies on the allusion to Greek mythology, with the outcome of projecting his despair at the destruction of his city. Much of the understanding of the text derives from the readers understanding of Greek mythology. The lyrical poem open with “Andromache, I think of you!” thus Baudelaire is comparing his feelings of loss and devastation with Andromache, who according to Greek mythology had her husband killed in the war between Troy and Greece. Not only did she had to deal with the loss of her husband in the war, but her beautiful city. Therefore Baudelaire impels via implication that he feel just as devastated as she would, as bother their beloved cities are destroyed.

Allusion / Reference to Ovid and Swan Song
Baudelaire also utilizes a reference to Roman poet Ovid. Ovid wrote of the swan song which is a swan’s finale gesture or effort before death. Baudelaire employs this motif to highlight his melancholy psyche that Paris is now dead, “And one old Memory like a crying horn”. Thus he reiterates his melancholy and negative feelings towards to modernisation of Paris. Swan is also a symbol of purity...
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