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Leda and the Swan Summary & Analysis
by William Butler Yeats

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In his poem “Leda and the Swan,” William Butler Yeats retells the classic Greek myth in which Leda, a human woman, is impregnated by the god Zeus while he is in the form of a swan. This conception results in the birth of Helen of Troy, who grows up to cause the legendary Trojan War—an event that, in turn, becomes the catalyst for the Golden Age of Greece and the dawn of modern history. In his arresting rendition of the myth, Yeats uses the traditional sonnet form to new ends, capturing the powerful forces by which history is made and the human impact of fate's violence and indifference.

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