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Compare and contrast 'Epithalamum' and 'Warming Her Pearls' by Duffy and Lochhead

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Introduction

Duffy and Lochhead both write about love. Compare and contrast two poems taking into account of the methods which each poet uses to write. ?Epithalamium? by Lochhead and ?Warming Her Pearls? by Duffy both deal with the theme of love. An epithalamium is a form of poetry written for a bride on her wedding day; this poem explores the joys of marriage and the effect of the love the bride and groom have for each other. ?Warming Her Pearls? is a dramatic monologue narrated by a servant as she reveals the unrequited love she has for her mistress. ?Epithalamium? is written in a sonnet form; the sonnet was the form of choice for lyric poets, particularly lyric poets seeking to engage with traditional themes of love and romance. This structure therefore is fitting as its contents speak of love and the joy of romance. ?Warming Her Pearls? is structured into six, quatrain stanzas. This careful organisation reflects the strict instruction the maid is under, and how she is expected to carry out her instructions accurately and precisely. ...read more.

Middle

the love affair via her fantasies only, ?I dream about her/ in my attic bed; picture her dancing/ with tall men.? The maid cannot express her love for her mistress for many reasons; one of which being the separation in social class between the two women. The consequence of this separation is represented through the pearl necklace which the mistress bid her maid wear to warm for her. The necklace is described metaphorically, ?Slack on my neck, her rope.? The image of rope shows the power the mistress has over her maid. However, it may also have sexual connotations as rope may be associated with bondage. In ?Epithalamium?, there is no division between the two lovers; they ?complement? each other, bringing out the best in one another. Unlike, ?Warming Her Pearls?, there is no secrecy in love in ?Epithalamium? as, ?When at your lover?s feet our opened selves we?ve laid?; the couple have opened themselves up and in doing so, ?We find ourselves, and all the world, remade.? The repetition of, ?our?, ?we?, and the phrase, ?hand- in- hand we go? symbolises the unity and togetherness of the bride and groom and the equality between them. ...read more.

Conclusion

In ?Epithalamium?, love is described as being ?like when sunlight flings/ A sudden shaft that lights up glamorous the rain/ Across a Glasgow street?. This simile shows that love causes special moments that light up lives like a beautiful, unexpected scene in nature. The theme of love in this poem is represented romantically stating that, ?For Marriage, love and love alone?s the argument? showing that it is the pure focus of marriage. However, love in Duffy?s poem is exploited in a more sexual light; this is shown through the sensual language and the use of sibilance, ?watch the soft blush seep through her skin/ like an indolent sigh?. These soft, quite sounds are sexual as are the maid?s fantasies, ?I see/ every movement in my head? Undressing? slipping naked into bed.? The juxtaposition at the end of the poem, ?knowing the pearls are cooling? and I burn? shows the maid?s yearning and longing to be close and intimate with her mistress. Both poets display love in a positive light, demonstrating how it can affect not only a person, or a couple, but the entire world suggesting that the theme of love is so universal, it affects everybody. ...read more.

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