What is the story of "Swan Lake" about?


Quick Answer

The tragic love story of "Swan Lake" is about a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. During the day she must swim as a swan in a lake of tears. At night she may be human again, but her spell can only be broken by a virgin prince who swears his eternal fidelity to her.

Continue Reading
What is the story of "Swan Lake" about?
Credit: Nisian Hughes Stone Getty Images

Full Answer

"Swan Lake" is a ballet composed in 1876 by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky. While the origins of the story have conflicting reports ranging from Russian folklore to a German libretto, Tchaikovsky's version has become one of the most well-known and culturally influential versions of "Swan Lake".

The story begins with a hunting journey by Prince Siegfriend, when he comes across a swan. Before he is able to shoot, the swan turns into a beautiful woman named Odette. She reveals that she is under a spell by the evil Von Rothbart, and can only be saved by a virgin prince who swears eternal fidelity to her. Siegfriend falls rapidly in love, inviting her that night to a ball at his castle where he will marry her and reverse her spell.

Tragically, the evil sorcerer disguises his daughter as Odette at the ball, causing Siegfriend to propose to the wrong woman. He races back to the lake to confess his mistake, but Odette has chosen to die in the lake to reverse the spell forever. He chooses to join her in eternity, and they live on in the afterlife as lovers forever.

Learn more about Folklore

Related Questions