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As an aesthetic experience, the sonnet is remarkable; Yeats combines words indicating powerful action, such as sudden blow, beating

and staggering, with adjectives and descriptive words which indicate Ledas weakness and helplessness caressed, helpless and terrified. Yeats thus greatly increases the sensory impact of the poem, and makes the birds attack both violent and seductive. The "loosening thighs" and "burning" clearly express sexual desire, which lessens the aspect of rape in the poem and couples with the swan's indistinguishable gender.

Leda and the Swan is a sonnet, with the customary fourteen-lines in iambic pentameter. The violent content of the poem, however, contrasts with this traditionally romantic form, which highlights the ambiguity the poet gives to the encounter the argument of rape or seduction. The sonnet is Petrarchan, with a clear separation between the first octave and the final sestet. The dividing line here is the moment of climaxthe shudder in the loins, emphasizing how the children born from this meeting will have a great effect in years to come. The rhyme scheme is regular, as is the metre, the iambic rhythm mimicking the metre of speech.

The broken wall, the burning roof and tower / And Agamemnon dead.

This line alerts the reader to the wider ramifications of this seemingly brief encounter. From the rape, Leda will produce two eggs, one containing Helen, Zeus child and her sister Clytemnestra, the daughter of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. The other bears the brothers Polydeuces and Castor, also the son of god and king respectively. It is the first daughter who will cause the most trouble; Helen will marry the king Menelaus but later elope with the handsome Paris. This causes the Trojan War, in particular the deaths of Achilles, Hector and Agamemnon, which in turn signals the end of the Age of Heroes, the fall of Ancient Greece and the beginning of the modern Roman Empire.