Leda And The Swan Poem Analysis

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Yeats’s poem ‘’Leda and the Swan’’ and Dorothy Hewitt’s ‘’Grave Fairytale’’ have content that is both mythological and violently sexual. In Yeats’ poem the speaker retells a story from Greek mythology. It is that of the rape of Leda by Zeus. In Hewitt’s poem, the speaker creates a new version of Rapunzel’s fairytale. This essay will discuss the relationship between mythology/ folklore, violence and sex through the analysis of both poems.
In Yeats’ poem, the speaker resents the rape scene, painting a vivid and terrifying picture of its aggressive violence. The father of Gods Zeus takes the form of a swan in order to seduce and to rape Leda, the beautiful woman that he desired. It is worth noting that a swan usually symbolises beauty, grace,
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Those interrogations emphasises the fact that Leda could not resist or protect her self from the omnipotent Zeus. She could not do anything to stop or avoid the rape from happening. This sexual assault happened out of her sexual desire, she was only a victim. The “terrified vague fingers” seem to say that the fingers do not know how to react to the attack: accept it or reject it? Leda couldn’t understand what it was, which came over her body and overpowered her.
In the poem, leda is represented as weak and helpless while Zeus is represented as powerful. This is obvious by the combination of words indicating that indicate Zeus’s power (’’great wings’’, ‘’feathered glory’’) and the words that indicate Leda’s weakness (‘’helpless’’, ‘’terrified’’, ‘’staggering’’).
The third stanza begins with the moment of Zeus’ ejaculation or the sexual orgasm that he had (‘’ a shudder in the loins engenders..’’) There is also reference to the trojan war (‘’the broken walk, the burning roof and tower and Agamemnon dead’’) that was very damaging. Yeats wanted to communicate the amount of intensity, deceit and terror of the
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This is a rhetorical question in witch Yeats assumes that Zeus does not know what he has done and that he is ignorant of the consequences of this rape. This rape made Leda pregnant and resulted in the coming of Helen (daughter of Zeus and Leda). It is also taken as an indirect cause of the trojan war.
In Hewett’s reworking on Rapunzel myth, the sexually depraved black witch is depicted as a part of Repunzel’s/ the narrator’s own self. The poem reflects on the myth of Repunzel who never sat alone in the tower but was always accompanied by her evil side (slavish lust) that was in control of

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