August 18, 2009
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
- In Greek mythology, Zeus appears to Leda in the form of a swan and rapes her. She gives birth to Helen and Clytemnestra. This act marks the beginning of Greek civilization for Yeats.
- Continuing the images of penetration and destruction—here, this alludes to Troy’s walls being breached by the Argives, but it also suggests that Leda was a virgin.
- The destruction of Troy.
- Agamemnon was murdered by Clytemnestra’s lover upon his return from Troy. He pretty much deserved it. The fall of Troy and the death of Agamemnon signify the end of an era.
- Compare this to the ending of “The Second Coming” where Yeats also asks an ambiguous and unanswerable question.