Leda and the Swan Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 26 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Leda and the Swan.
This section contains 1,539 words
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Mythology

"Leda and the Swan" is a difficult poem to grasp fully on a casual reading because it assumes considerable background knowledge on the part of the reader of the event being described and its place in Greek mythology. The poem is also inspired by Yeats's strange and difficult theory of historical cy- cles. Even when one is acquainted with Yeats's sources and theories, the poem is a challenge for the student because of the complexity of the ideas to which it makes subtle reference. However, the lyrical quality and force of description in the poem can be appreciated even by those who find the ideas hard to follow. Thus the poem can be enjoyed on two levels. It is both a chilling, bizarre description of a violent act of rape and a sophisticated exploration of Yeats's ideas about the nature of cosmic history and the place of humans...

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This section contains 1,539 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.