Leda and the Swan Essay

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Perkins is an associate professor of English at Prince George's Community College and has published widely in the field of twentieth-century British and American literature. In the following essay, she explores the mythological elements of Yeats's poem and how they relate to its overall themes.

In Greek mythology, Leda was the daughter of Thestios, king of Aetolia, and wife of Tyndareus, king of Sparta. The legend tells that one day Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods, came to Leda in the form of a swan and seduced her. As a result, she bore two eggs; both would develop into two offspring each, Castor and Pollux from one egg and Helen and Clytemnestra from the other. Helen would become the breathtakingly beautiful Helen of Troy and would trigger the eventual destruction of Troy, the disintegration of early Greek civilization, and the introduction of the next cycle of Greek...

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This section contains 1,253 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Leda and the Swan Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Leda and the Swan from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.