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Context
· This was published in 1923.
· This poem is based on the Greek Myth, about the rape of
Leda by the Greek god Zeus formed as a swan.
· Zeus was the father of all gods and men.
· Yeats was interested in Mythology.…read more

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Structure
· This poem is a sonnet. This is an Italian sonnet where the first
section describes a problem and the second part is like the
resolution or outcome to the problem.
· Usually in an Italian sonnet, around the ninth line there is a
change in mood. In this poem the ninth line is the climax and
starts to change.
· It is an iambic pentameter. This is usually used in dramas.
· The lines balance each other out. For example, the first line is
describing something powerful and strong: "A sudden blow".
While in the second line it is more gentle "Caressed". So the
lines balance each other out in terms of good and bad.
· This ends in a question. It is very open ended, letting the
reader to decide for themselves or answer the question for
themselves.…read more

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Language
· Swans are perceived to be strong, graceful and beautiful.
· The use of onomatopia is violent: "Wings beating still.
This shows how violent the act is. This could reflect Zeus'
powerful status.
· "Strange Heart" could represent how Zeus is not meant to
be there and this act is not meant to be happening at all-it
is unnatural.
· "A shudder in the loins" is the climax of the story. It is
almost as if virginity is being destroyed.
· The question at the end: "Did she put on his knowledge
with his power/ before the indifferent beak could let her
drop?" This shows how Leda has been with a god, he
has given her the power to have his babies.…read more

Slide 5

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Themes
· Violence:- the acts taken in this poem are violent and
there are some violent use of words.
· Intimacy:- Leda is very intimate.
· Power: Zeus has lots of power and given Leda the power
to have his children.
· Life: life is a key theme, life is beautiful and has been
brought of the intimate and violent event.
· Transformation/Change: there has been a change in
humanity. There is a transformation in humanity.…read more

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