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Compare and contrast two poems, one by Liz Lochhead and one by Carol Ann Duffy, taking account of the methods (situation, form and structure, and language, including imagery, and tone) which each poet uses to write about love.

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Compare and contrast two poems, one by Liz Lochhead and one by Carol Ann Duffy, taking account of the methods (situation, form and structure, and language, including imagery, and tone) which each poet uses to write about love. Two poems that focus on love as a theme are Warming Her Pearls by Carol Ann Duffy and Epithalamium by Liz Lochhead. Warming her Pearls depicts a situation in which a servant speaks of her unrequited love for her mistress, whereas Epithalamium is a celebration of marriage. In examining how each poet writes about love, a good place to start is the titles of the poems. Warming Her Pearls is an ambiguous title that does not immediately relate to love. However, the continuous nature of, ?warming,? implies that the speaker?s love for her unnamed mistress is always at the forefront of her mind. Contrastingly, Epithalamium is a more obviously romantic title. An epithalamium is a form of poetry carried from Ancient Greek, and was intended to be spoken to the wife as she was brought to bed on the night of a wedding, thus conveying that the poem will have a more positive outlook towards love. Moving on, both poems use vivid imagery to capture the complex nature of love. ...read more.

Middle

There is no such universality in Warming Her Pearls, the maid is truly on her own in love. A recurring theme throughout Warming Her Pearls is imagery related to night and dreams: ?I dream about her.? The speaker is blunt and to the point. She can only dream. The imagery is continued into the conclusion of the poem: ?Full Moon.? In mythology a full moon is symbolic of love?s madness, but ironically can also symbolise chastity. The speaker is reduced to imagining, ?her every movement in my head.? At this point the speaker shifts from desire to unrestrained obsession. The final image in the poem is of the cool, sleeping mistress contrasted with the awake and burning maid, the ultimate expression of the vast distance between them and the unrequited love that will never be realised. The conclusion of Epithalamium, on the other hand, emphasises a sense of togetherness and rebirth: ?your quotidian friends / Put on, with gladrag finery today, your joy.? This archaic language coupled with the blend of literal and metaphorical accentuates the celebration of love. Lochhead writes, ?They won?t let old griefs, old lives destroy.? The juxtaposition between new and old conveys a sense of hope for the future, in direct comparison to the hopeless outlook for the maid in Warming Her Pearls. ...read more.

Conclusion

In terms of punctuation, in Warming Her Pearls Duffy utilises her diction for maximum effect. There is extensive use of enjambment which conveys urgency as it links the women, suggesting that the speaker longs for joining and completion of her love. Some of the sentences are short, with words left out and the language is simple, such as: ?Slack on my neck, her rope.? A run on line connects stanza one with stanza two and stanza five with stanza six. Full stops are placed at various points of the poem, only four of them at the end of a line. There are ten other full stops or question marks at various points of lines; this is unusual for a poem. The seemingly unsystematic punctuation suggests that the speaker?s love is not under her own control. This is a direct contrast with Epithalamium, where Lochhead uses longer sentences broken up with complex punctuation such as dashes and colons: ?but all we know / Is: Love surprises us.? The direct and logical punctuation gives a more traditional view of love. To conclude, Warming Her Pearls by Carol Ann Duffy and Epithalamium by Liz Lochhead both effectively use language to convey impressions of love that are very different in situation but emotionally similar. They capture the intensity of emotion that love brings, regardless of who it is directed at. ...read more.

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