Charles Baudrelaire: the Swan

Main theme: Criticism of industrialization and the destruction of Paris Mode of Characterization: presented with melancholy Mood: somber, disheartened, nostalgic Tone: saddened, negative, slow, nostalgic Form: French lyric poem Alienation: The narrator, whom we assume is Baudelaire himself highlights how he was become and alien in his own city. The urban renewal and industrialization has replaced familiar sights and landmarks he had loved.
The swan is a symbolically a projection f himself, like the swan he too had been taken from his native land and home. Baudelaire also plays on our understands that not only is he similar to the swan, but so too the orphans; separated from their parent’s, and lost sailors and captives never to return to their true home. Allusion / Greek Mythology Baudelaire relies on the allusion to Greek mythology, with the outcome of projecting his despair at the destruction of his city.
Much of the understanding of the text derives from the readers understanding of Greek mythology. The lyrical poem open with “Andromeda, I think of you! Thus Baudelaire is comparing his feelings of loss and devastation with Andromeda, who according to Greek mythology had her husband killed in the war between Troy and Greece. Not only did she had to deal with the loss of her husband in the war, but her beautiful city.

Therefore Baudelaire impels via implication that he feel Just as devastated as she would, as bother their beloved cities are destroyed. Allusion / Reference to Ovid and Swan Song Baudelaire also utilizes a reference to Roman poet Ovid. Ovid wrote of the swan song which is a swan’s finale gesture or effort before death. Baudelaire employs this motif o highlight his melancholy psyche that Paris is now dead, “And one old Memory like a crying horn”. Thus he reiterates his melancholy and negative feelings towards to modernization of Paris.
Swan is also a symbol of purity and elegance, much like Baudelaire Paris, the swan’s death and abandonment, is used to represent that Paris has been abandoned as the “silent air” indicates a lack of life. Criticism of Destruction / Development / Industrialization Imagery Bothersome, Baudelaire relies heavily on vivid imagery to demonstrate the extensive destruction particularly, the environmental destruction incurred by the arbitration. Endearing swan act as a criticism of the arbitration which would have displaced many animals and destroyed their homes.
The survival of the animals seems grim as there was a “… Waterless stream” which highlights the environmental damage the arbitration incurred. Baudelaire also criticisms the destruction of Paris and the urban development. He remarks “a town alas, Changes more quickly than man’s heart may change” which suggests that modernity and arbitration is too fast paced for human development. Thus the reader is encouraged to mourn the loss of old Paris.

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