We performed numerical experiments on a one-dimensional elastic solid oscillating in a two-dimensional viscous incompressible fluid with the intent of discerning the interplay of vorticity and elastodynamics in flapping wing propulsion. Perhaps for the first time, we have established the role of foil deflection topology and its influence on vorticity generation, through spatially and temporally evolving foil slope and curvature. Though the frequency of oscillation of the foil has a definite role, it is the phase relation between foil slope and pressure that determines thrust or drag. Similarly, the phase difference between flapping velocity, and pressure and inertial forces, determine the power input to the foil, and in turn drives propulsive efficiency. At low frequencies of oscillation, the sympathetic slope and curvature of deformation of the foil allow generation of leading-edge vortices that do not separate; they cause substantial rise in pressure between the leading edge and mid-chord. The circulatory component of pressure is determined primarily by the leading-edge vortex and therefore thrust too is predominantly circulatory in origin at low frequencies. In the intermediate and high-frequency range, thrust and drag on the foil spatially alternate and non-circulatory forces dominate over circulatory and viscous forces. For the mass ratios we simulated, thrust due to flapping varies quadratically as a function of Strouhal number or trailing-edge flapping velocity; further, the trailing edge flapping velocities peak at the same set of frequencies where the thrust is also a maximum. Propulsive efficiency, on the other hand, is roughly a mirror image of the thrust variation with respect to Strouhal number. Given that most instances of flapping propulsion in nature are primarily through distributed muscular actuation that enables precise control of deformation shape, leading to high thrust and efficiency, the results presented here are pointers towards understanding some of the mechanisms that drive thrust and propulsive efficiency.