Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My interpetation of Viva La Vida by Coldplay, with Biblical and Historical references


It is a very literal interpretational ballad of Napoleon in the moments before his death in exile. I believe it is on Napoleon because of the Heavy French Classical influence coursing through the song as well as the Album cover, being a French Revolutionary Painting. Who else in France had a shot at ruling the world?

The first three verses are where he recounts his former glory ("Old king is dead, long live the king") when he was going to rule the world, and how he held such power over his enemy. ("I used to rule the world/ Roll the dice") And then he tells of his downfall, when he sees that he cannot rule the world, and how he has become the lowest.("Now in the morning/ sweep the streets I used to own/ the walls were closed on me") Sweeping is a nobody job, so He is saying that he is now a nobody.

The chorus, which varies progressively, is a realization that he sees his own death. (Bells and Choirs would ring and sing, respectively, during a Funeral Procession, in some cases) "Mirror Sword and Shield" could mean that he is awaiting heaven, since the three are very Christian symbols. "Missionaries" is another Christian allusion, but appears to be useless, unless referring to that he is asking that a room in Heaven be prepared for him. "For Some Reason I can't explain, once you go..." appears to be a filler line, since it takes a different meaning later on. "That was when I ruled the world" is just a reprising line that sounds good. It restates that he no longer is glorious, and will die soon.

All the way from "Wicked and Wild wind" to "Oh who would ever want to be king" is a remembrance of his own rise to power and use of it. Also, because the French would Execute using the Guillotine, the "head on a silver plate" line also is an Allusion to Napoleonic France, as well as John the Baptist's death.

The second Chorus is the same, save for the line, "I know saint peter won't call my name". this is Napoleon saying he won't go to heaven since he was a tyrant. Saint Peter calling a name is symbolic of dying and going to Heaven.

There is an instrumental bridge where I suppose you could say Napoleon realizes death is inevitable, and accepts it, while the music becomes stronger.

The final Chorus has the change of "I know Saint peter won't call my name" to "I know Saint Peter WILL call my name" Saying that Napoleon accepts his death. You can imagine Napoleon Closing his eyes at the words "When I ruled the world"

The song ends with a choir singing the main chords in harmony, in a sad, thoughtful fadeout, suggesting Napoleon is dead.

1 Comments:

At Wednesday, May 27, 2009 4:23:00 PM , Blogger _Priya Raj_ said...

A remarkable, n quite creative interpretation of Viva La Vida.
Yet, come to think of it..
the same words could even be attributed to Constantine 1.. The Roman Emperor who'd once ruled Jerusalem. In his last days, he'd foreseen the arrival of his death and had even built his resting place secretly, before his death...

 

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