Leda and the Swan

Topics: Zeus, Greek mythology, Agamemnon Pages: 3 (792 words) Published: May 9, 2013
Palmerin 1
Melody Palmerin
Professor Isaac
Literature 102
18 April 2013
“Leda and the Swan”
“Leda and the Swan” written by William Butler Yeats, signifies Greek Mythology, and how a seduction happened between Leda and the Greek god Zeus portrayed as a swan. The poem is described to have changed history through intercourse between Leda and Zeus which she bared two infamous daughters in the Greek mythology world. Throughout the course of it, it happens to transition between moods by what the audience gets from the images put in their heads and how during just one act so much information is given. There is some insight brought to readers by the words chosen by Yeats, readers can have different interpretations of each line. “Leda and the Swan” brings its point and fluidity out by Imagery and Tone.

The poem has some background and history that is necessary for the reader to understand, it is a Greek myth, Zeus appears to Leda as a swan and
Palmerin 2
seduces her and she gives birth to Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra which is Agamemnon’s wife and murderer. Agamemnon is referenced in the poem so he is very important in Greek mythology the line is “Agamemnon dead”, that once one of Leda’s daughters is conceived history has changed.

Tone is extremely important, because every reader interprets it differently, even though most think of this story as a rape the tone differentiates it as being something greater than that and less dramatic and slowly is transformed as a seduction. The poem begins a bit dark with words such as “helpless” and “terrified vague fingers” Leda is scared and is reluctant, but then she begins to loosen her thighs, and the words automatically change such as making is glory and a white rush. It transitions into having an uneasy tone because Leda still feels the strange heart on hers. Once the uneasiness disappears then the tone transforms into a form of empowerment in Leda rather then in Zeus as the swan. Once she has the...

Cited: Yeats Butler William. Leda and the Swan. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. 1059. Print.
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