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Viva la Vida Lyric Analysis

Analysis on the song Viva La Vida by Coldplay on the different poetic devices used in the poem.
by

Jonathan Yun

on 4 October 2015

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Transcript of Viva la Vida Lyric Analysis

Viva la Vida -
Coldplay

Allusion
Idiom
"I know St Peter won't call my name"
- Line 6 of 5th Stanza
Alliteration
Examples of alliteration in the song are:
"
S
weep the
s
treets..."
"
F
eel the
f
ear..."
"Roman
c
alvarly
c
hoirs..."
"Be
m
y
m
irror,
m
y
s
word, and
s
hield"
".... in a
f
oreign
f
ield"
"It
w
as a
w
icked and
w
ild
w
ind"
"Who
w
ould ever
w
ant..."
Personification
"Just a puppet on a lonely string" - Line 3 of 4th Stanza
By Andrew Luo,
Jonathan Yun
Metaphor
An example of a metaphor is:
"Just a puppet on a lonely string" - Line 3 of 6th Stanza
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"


One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand
I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you'd gone there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was a wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become

Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?
I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
I know St Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh [x5]
Hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing
Roman cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
I know St Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
Th
This personifies the word "string," a non-human object, with the human trait of being lonely.
Compares how powerless puppets are with how people are controlled by the different things society thinks are important, such as being good looking, having money, and being famous.
Assonance
Refers to St. Peter, who, from the Bible, guards the Gateway to Heaven. When it says "St Peter won't call my name", it means he will no go to heaven.
Refers to the bible where Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt when she looked to the burning city and the pillars of sand refers to the parable of the wise and foolish builder.
Examples of repeated vowel sounds:
"Sw
ee
p the str
ee
ts..."
"F
e
el the f
e
ar..."
"...
e
n
e
my's
e
yes"
"..w
i
cked and w
i
ld w
i
nd"
Mood: Sad, regretful
Theme: Revolution, life
Message: The song is about a king who had total control. He took and gambled that power, and changed in ways that others can't imagine, and was later overthrown. He later realized that he never should have acted in such a way, leaving people with the impression that life is not based on how much money or power you have.
"Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand" - Line 4 of 3rd Stanza
"I used to roll the dice"
Line 1 of 2nd Stanza
This is a common English idiom. It makes no sense literally - you're not actually rolling a dice. It figuratively means to gamble, or take a chance, like what the king did with his power.
Many think that the "king" in the song is actually King Louis XVI. Many different parts of the lyrics refer to the French Revolution. Such as "Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate" which refers to how the French Revolutionaries are waiting to kill their king so that France can become a Republic.
Full transcript