In the second stanza of Yeats “Leda and the Swan” we see an antithetical element when the speaker says “How can those terrified vague fingers push-The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?- And how can body, laid in that white rush, -But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?” There is this image of a woman being raped by a swan and how she falls prey to it. The idea of Zesus embodying this swan that is raping a woman is extremelyhard to imagine. There is also the concept of claiming power over Leda through the act of rape. A rape that causes a new era, this reaction creates a new cycle. This cycle becoming polyisium. Her vague fingers suggest that she is ambivalent towards this force that she is up against. It shows her mortality and her vulnerability. It depicts her as the victim of a higher power and how this act creates a larger part in the future. The language in this poem is powerful and invasive to the mind. Its difficult to imagine a huge swan creating this act but the imagery in this poem is suggesting that she has become embracive towards it. Yeats’s sonnet has many words that create this imagery of rape by incorporating words like beating, helpless, loosening thighs, terrified vague fingers.

 

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