Opposition and Allusion in "Viva La Vida"Presentation Transcript
Opposition and Allusion in Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” Mrs. Skotnicki
“Viva La Vida” "Viva La Vida" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chris-Martin-BBC-live.jpg
Topic and Theme in “Viva La Vida” Topic -a king who loses power Theme -the higher you are, the harder you fall
Song (and Album) Title Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Coldplay, 2008 Viva La Vida, Frida Kahlo, 1954 http://overheardinthesacristy.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/frida-kahlo-viva-la-vida-2.jpg http://www.silentsoundwaves.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/coldplay.jpg
The Title According to Coldplay guitarist, Guy Berryman, “’It's a story about a king who's lost his kingdom, and all the album's artwork is based on the idea of revolutionaries and guerillas. There's this slightly anti-authoritarian viewpoint that's crept into some of the lyrics and it's some of the pay-off between being surrounded by governments on one side, but also we're human beings with emotions and we're all going to die and the stupidity of what we have to put up with every day.Hence the album title.’” (“Viva La Vida”)
Literary Elements Opposition: a pair of images, settings, etc., whereby each becomes more striking and informative because it is placed in contrast to the other one Before and After Religious and Military imagery Allusion: a reference in a literary work to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature Multiple Biblical allusions throughout the song
Opposition Before and After “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.” Religious and Military Imagery “I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing / Roman cavalry choirs are singing” “Be my mirror, my sword and shield / My missionaries in a foreign field “
Calvary or cavalry? Definition of CALVARY 1: an open-air representation of the crucifixion of Jesus 2: an experience of usually intense mental suffering Origin of CALVARY Calvary, the hill near Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. First Known Use: 1738 (“Calvary”) Definition of CAVALRY 1 a: an army component mounted on horseback b: an army component moving in motor vehicles or helicopters and assigned to combat missions that require great mobility 2: horsemen <a thousand cavalry in flight> (“Cavalry”)
Biblical Allusions “Pillars of salt and pillars of sand” “Jerusalem bells” “Roman Cavalry Choirs” “Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate” “I know St. Peter won’t call my name”
Allusion to St. Peter According to Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin, “’It's about... You're not on the list. I was a naughty boy. It's always fascinated me that idea of finishing your life and then being analyzed on it. And this idea runs throughout most religions. That's why people blow up buildings. Because they think they're going to get lots of virgins. …That is the most frightening thing you could possibly say to somebody. Eternal damnation. I know about this stuff because I studied it. I was into it all. I know it. It's still mildly terrifying to me. And this is serious.’” (“Viva La Vida”)
Imagery of Saint Peter Francesco del Cossa, St. Peter (panel from the GriffoniPolyptych), c. 1473. Tempera and gold on wood panel, PinacotecadiBrera, Milan. http://magicstatistics.com/wp-content/pictures/art/Cossa_Peter.jpg
Instrumentals According to About.com’s Bill Lamb, “"Viva La Vida" soars in with a grandiose instrumental arrangement and sweeping lyrics detailing the pain of being deposed from a lofty position. ... Bells and chimes [my emphasis] and orchestral swells are all there on the chorus, but Chris Martin's voice still pierces through like a clarion call. Lyrically, the pain of the protagonist is clear, but the sweep of words about Jerusalem bells, Roman cavalry, and Saint Peter give "Viva La Vida" an air of intelligence rare in today's most popular pop songs.”
Conclusion What begins as a straightforward song about a king who has lost his kingdom takes on greater significance through the songwriters’ inclusion of oppositional imagery and Bibilicalallusions. Linking religion to warfare reminds of the very human cost of our spiritual beliefs, regardless of denomination. As Chris Martin suggests, we all must come to terms with the choices we make when we face Saint Peter. The king who nostalgically looks back upon his glory days must also consider the consequences of leading men into battle (for religious causes). As a result, the audience is left wondering if what we die for is of any consequence when we are dead.
Works Cited "Calvary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 02 Jan. 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calvary>. "Cavalry." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 02 Jan. 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cavalry>. "Coldplay - Viva La Vida Lyrics." LyricsMode.com. Web. 02 Jan. 2011. <http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/coldplay/viva_la_vida.html>. Lamb, Bill. "Coldplay - "Viva La Vida"" About.com Top 40-Pop - Songs, Charts, Top 40 Reviews, Pop Music. Web. 02 Jan. 2011. <http://top40.about.com/od/singles/gr/vivalavida.htm>. "Viva La Vida." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 02 Jan. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viva_la_Vida>.