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Study of ‘Anne Hathaway’ from Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘The Worlds Wife’

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    How typical, in terms of language, style, structure and concerns is ‘Anne Hathaway’ of the collection?

    Carol Ann Duffy presents Anne Hathaway as a character who is deeply in love with her partner whom she is writing a poem for. This poem shows that the collection is not an act of revenge, as it shows how much she loves Shakespeare. It also gives the idea that the collection is not completely anti-men as it shows how great Anne thinks her partner is. Using many different poetic terms and presenting them within a sonnet, which Anne Hathaway has supposedly written for her husband William Shakespeare to show her love.

    Duffy suggests that making love was their main focus within the relationship. This is shown when she uses the metaphor “the bed we loved in was a spinning world” This suggests that love making was their main focus because it shows that making love made her world spin which shows it must have been pretty good. However the poem ‘Frau Freud’ presents a different idea. This poem suggests that the writer doesn’t enjoy sex and finds penises unappealing. One example of when this is shown throughout the poem is when it says ‘the average penis-not pretty’. ‘Anne Hathaway’ gives a completely different idea to this because the whole poem is about her and her partner making love and her enjoying it and stating how special she thinks Shakespeare is whereas ‘Frau Freud’ shows the woman’s displease at the thought of a penis.

    She also uses the metaphor “forests, castles, torchlight, cliff tops, seas where we would dive for pearls.” In this metaphor ‘torchlight’ suggests romance, which suggests even though they spend a lot of their time making love they still have romance, which suggests a strong love for each other. This also has a reference to how the lighting would have been in Shakespearian times because they didn’t have electricity so everything would have been seen using candles.

    One way in which this poem differs from the others in the collection is the fact that the male and females actually like each other. This differs from other poems because in most others the relationship fails (‘Mrs Quasimodo’) and the woman hates the man. This difference is shown in the line “words like shooting stars”. This shows how much Anne Hathaway values Shakespeare and how special he is to her. It also shows that she feels his talents are incredible and rare and that people don’t come across them very often so he is almost like a one of and not likely to be found again. Because she says his words are like shooting stars she also suggests that he makes her wishes come true with the things he does/writes.

    When Duffy says, “our guests dosed on dribbling their prose” it shows that even though they had a better bed the guests didn’t have as much fun as Anne and Shakespeare did. This suggests that their love is so special it can make something, which is boring, and maybe not very good quality/condition fun and more eventful then the better bed. Also using the words “dribbling” and “prose” she creates quite a slow sound which could maybe calm the reader after reading the poem because the rest of it is quite fast paced and this is put at the end.

    She also uses a Connotation, “I hold him in the casket of my head”. Usually a casket is something you keep dead bodies in, but it can also mean somewhere you keep precious items in. Because she is talking about keeping their memories in this casket she is showing how much she valued their love and how much Shakespeare meant to her. However despite the fact that they get on so well by using this connotation it is suggested that their love is dieing and she is burying the memories and even though they are good memories she wants rid of them, making this poem more like the others in the collection because it to ends in tragedy.

    This poem is fairly similar to ‘Demeter’ because they are both sonnets. However ‘Demeter’ talks about the love/relationship between a Mother and a Daughter whereas ‘Anne Hathaway’ is written to show the sexual relationship between two lovers. The fact that it has been written as a sonnet also suggests

    Duffy also uses Ambiguity when she says “I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head” This could mean that she is burring the memories they both had together along with his body and forgetting about him or it could also mean that she is placing them in a special place within her head because they are precious and valuable to her. By doing this the poem is made to be either similar to the other poems in the collection or it could also be different. If she was getting rid of the memories it would be similar to others because it starts off with a strong relationship full of love but by the end it has turned rotten and she no longer values it. However is she finds the memories valuable then it would be different because it shows that the relationship has stayed strong and despite Shakespeare’s death she still loves and values him.

    She also uses Personification. This is used when she is describing Shakespeare’s touch and she says “verb dancing in the centre of a noun”. This gives the impression that even his touch is special and can do amazing things, for this creates an image of something great. However because it isn’t specifically stated what the verb and noun are it could mean that it is bad as well as good. Because of the freedom of what it could be this particular line is quite intriguing as it leaves the reader imagination to decide what exactly it means. This makes the poem different from the rest of the collection because most of the others create quite strong and clear images thought them. However it is similar the first line of “Mrs Aesop” when it says “By Christ he could bore for Purgatory”. This creates an uncertain image because it shows that she doesn’t think he is all good. However it also shows that he isn’t completely bad because if he was she would have said that he could bore for Hell.

    Duffy presents the idea of Shakespeare’s words being soft and calming. She does this when she uses euphony by saying “My body now a softer rhyme”. This suggests that after he has been with her she has become better and maybe he has healed her suggesting that she has been through pain before, therefore making this poem fit in with the rest of the collection because it presents a woman that has suffered even though it has been shown quite subtlety. Also because she says rhyme she suggests that he has done work on her and maybe that he cares for her so much because he sees her as one of his master pieces therefore showing he thinks highly of her and cares for her.

    The poem isn’t very typical of the rest of the collection as it is much shorter. It also follows a much different theme to the others as it is about a woman’s love for a man, something that most of the others don’t contain. However the poem is similar to ‘Queen Kong’ as this is a poem that also coveys a message of love and show a relationship between a man and woman in which they both get along.

    ‘Anne Hathaway’ shows that the collection isn’t all anti-men and isn’t completely against them. The poem actually makes the reader think the complete opposite as it shows that qualities of a man and explains the love a woman has for him. This idea is shown in the line ‘My lover’s words were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses’ This presents Shakespeare in a good way and makes the collection seem to also have a theme of happiness and women appreciating men within it.

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    Study of ‘Anne Hathaway’ from Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘The Worlds Wife’. (2016, Sep 01). Retrieved from

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