How does the title relate to the content in "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of this very popular song is actually taken from a painting by Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican artist, who lived an extraordinairy life in spite of suffering from polio and many other health and emotional issues. She painted her picture in the context of her own sufferings, and its translation, "Long Life the Life," has been heralded by many critics as a determination to life life to the best of one's abilities in spite of the situation you may find yourself in. This is certainly something that Chris Martin was impressed by, and this led him to call the album in which this song was released by the same title as the song.

The themes of living one's life in spite of the sufferings that you might experience are clear from the very first 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.

The speaker is somebody who has enjoyed massive power, wealth and prestige, but now, through some undisclosed twist of fate, has lost everything, and faces the deeply ironic situation of having to sweep the same streets that he used to own. Even though the speaker seems to feel that heaven is closed to him, as "St. Peter won't call my name," the song's title suggests that in spite of whatever situation we find ourselves in during our lives, we must all find the determination to live our lives to the maximum, no matter what twists of fate we are subject to and our position.

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