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English Poetry I (C)

Leda and the Swan by William Bu tler Yeats Poem Analysis

The poem illustrates about a sudden attack by a swan to a girl named Leda, until she lost her balance, staggered, and fell down. The swan was over her and caresse d her thighs with its dark feet. It also had the back of her neck in its beak. The girl couldn't help but to lay under the swan because her chest was being pushed by the swan's breast. The swan suddenly opened her thighs. She was scared, but unable to resist the swan from doing it to her. She felt strange to have sex with a swan, feeling the beat of its heart as it laid on her. They finally had sex. She felt the pleasure as she did it, as if the wall was broken and the roof and tower were being burnt. She was going to bear a child, and Agamemnon was mentioned. It is assumed that child would be related to Agamemnon's death. However, one thing she did not know that the swan was empowered by the spirit of God. She did not realize that she just had had sex with the God. She did not even get to think because the swan had already tossed her down.

This analysis will focus in how we indentify W. B. Yeats' poem entitled ‘Leda and the Swan' using some elements of poetry, such as language, which can help to find the denotation and connotation meaning, kinds of imagery (simile, personification, and metaphor) , and the issue and allusion that can be rel ate d to the content of the poem in order to find the theme that fit s for this poem. ‘Leda and the Swan is very interesting to be analyzed since it tells about human who has sex with an animal, and if we look at it thoroughly, the poem has deeper meaning than as it is. It is also very interesting fact that W. B. Yeats writes the poem with such beautiful chosen diction, as we know that the poem is telling about "rape" , which is full of violence between human and a swan. Another reason is because ‘Leda and the Swan' is the best poem of the 20 th century.

William Butler Yeats is known to be one of the greatest poets in the 20 th century. He was an Irish and his nationality was really strong although he had lived in London for 14 years of his childhood . Yeats had produced so many poems which based on Irish folklore, legends, ballads and songs. Yeats was interested in mysticism. Together with his wife, he began to have an experiment called automatic writing. From this, Yeats created theories about life and history . Yeats strongly believed that spiritual beings existed that called gyres. It is shown by the act of divine creatures impregnate a mortal woman - Zeus who raped Leda, which is related to the conception of Mary.

During 1922-1923, there was controversies emerged between Irish and British, which then led to an Irish civil war. Yeats, then, became the senate of the Irish Free State . During his senate period, Yeats produced poems and plays, which were related with the surrounding violence at that time. He linked those moments with events in the world and the history, producing many writings including ‘ Leda and t he Swan '.

There are two ways to interpret the meaning of the poem, called denotation and connotation. Started with denotation, it tells about a girl who is being raped by a swan. Though actually she can resist it, she does not have the courage. In the end, it turns out that the swan is actually representation of something powerful and incr edible, that this girl might not realize. And that is God. So the girl is not raped by the swan, but the God.

While talking about connotation meaning, t his poem is telling about the condition in the Irish civil war at that time. Irish was being colonized by British due to some controversies happened. In this poem, it is told that Leda was raped by