Leda and the Swan

Leda_and_the_Swan_1505-1510
This is a very interesting poem. I have read about this story several times through my life and have seen the painting however I have never seen the words life off the pages with equal life as the painting itself. There was so much mythology written into the poem that it took me quite some times to figure out the poem. Every word counts in poetry, so every word has a deep meaning. The poem is about Leda the mother of the great Helen of troy who has inspired her fair share of poetry I am sure. However, this is poem is about Leda and her rape/ seduction by the Greek god Zeus. This poem has a more erotic tone. However, it was interesting as the male in the poem is Zeus in the form of a swan. I think it is interesting because it is much easier for the poets and painters to change the form of the man in order for the blatant sexuality of the piece to be socially acceptable. The idea of the piece lacks sexuality so it dumbfounded me to read something that took away from the swan and almost replaced it with a person. One does not read a piece about a Swan having a sexual encounter with a human being without it sounding odd. However, Yeats managed to move away from that and instead makes the idea become realistic and not as irrational as it seems. The poem is about the rape of Leda by Zeus and her inability to do anything but fall prey to his actions. While I really liked the poem there were certain parts that I did not understand wholly such as the lines “A shudder in the loins engenders there/ The broken wall, the burning roof and tower/ And Agamemnon dead.” I believe it is talking about the child she is to bare, Clytemnestra, who will kill her second husband Agamemnon. I found the poem interesting and different from the subject matters of what we have been reading.

 

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