The Wild Swans at Coole Literary Elements

The Wild Swans at Coole Literary Elements

Speaker or Narrator, and Point of View

The poem is written in the first person singular so the point of view is that of the poet describing the scenery and his feelings.

Form and Meter

The poem has a regular stanza, written mostly in iambic meter, two lines in tetrameter and three lines in trimiter. Each stanza has the same rhyme scheme and that is ABCBDD. The poem has 30 lines and 5 stanzas.

Metaphors and Similes

William Yeats uses the swans as a metaphor for the eternal beauty represented by nature. While everything else around him seems to be dying and aging, the swans remain the same, unchanged in time and always full of life.

Alliteration and Assonance

In the third stanza, we have the alliteration ‘’bell-beat’ ’that captures the steady beat of the swans ‘wings as they fly above the poet.


In the poem ‘’The Wild Swans at Coole’’, it is ironic the difference between the swans and the poet. The swans are full of life and live without worrying while the poet is old, at the twilight of his life and unhappy.




The lake the poet describes is lake Coole and he describes it at twilight during autumn.


The tone the poet uses is tragic and regretful, the poet talking about the differences between his life and the swan’s life.

Protagonist and Antagonist

There is no protagonist and antagonist in the poem.

Major Conflict

We could consider as being the major conflict the symbolic battle the poet has against time.


The climatic point is when the swans start to fly above the poet. This makes the poet meditate and awakens in him feelings that he didn’t had before the swans started to move.


The image of the dry paths in the first stanza foreshadows the general idea of the poem and the main theme in the poem.


When the poet talks about his lack of vitality, it doesn’t have the purpose of making the reader pity him, but rather it wants to accentuate how different the swans and the poet are.


From the beginning, the poet makes numerous allusions to death. Symbols such as dry paths and trees, twilight and the time setting point towards the idea of something coming to an end and death.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

''Under the October twilight'' is a metonymy used to refer to death and to suggest that something has come to its end.


The nineteenth autumn has come upon me


I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,


''The bell-beat of their wings above my head'', it is a onomatopoeia because it suggests the sound the swans’ wings make when they fly.

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