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Leda and the Swan Summary
William Butler Yeats

Everything you need to understand or teach Leda and the Swan by William Butler Yeats.

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Leda and the Swan Summary

Introduction

William Butler Yeats's daring sonnet describing the details of a story from Greek mythology—the rape of Leda by the god Zeus in the form of a swan—was written at the height of the poet's career, the same year he received the Nobel Prize for literature. "Leda and the Swan" is a violent, sexually explicit poem that has all of the lyricism and complexity of Yeats's later work, with its plain diction, rhythmic vigor, and allusions to mystical ideas about the universe, the relationship of human and divine, and the cycles of history. It can be seen as a poem about the way a single event is to be understood as part of a larger scheme; the result of the god's assault on Leda is the birth of Helen of Troy, the subsequent destruction of early Greek civilization, and the beginning of the modern era. It has also...

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Leda and the Swan Study Guide

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