Compare and contrast 'Warming Her Pearls' by Duffy and 'The Redneck' by Lochhead

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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. It also reflects the strict, formal, professional relationship which is to be expected between her and her mistress. However, the use of enjambment throughout breaks the perfect structure showing how the maid is breaking these boundaries with her love, and also how she allows her fantasies about her mistress to run on, ‘the way/ she always does’.

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Love in ‘Epithalamium’ is open and infectious; it is a shared emotion as, ‘your quotidian friends/ Put on, with gladrag finery today, your joy’. This metaphore demonstrates how guests attending the wedding dress up with delight and happiness and experience the joy the bride and groom are feeling. It also allows the guests to, ‘Renew in themselves the right true ends/ They won’t let old griefs, old lives destroy’. This demonstrates how the joy of love can encourage lovers to silently renew their own faith in love. In contrast, the love in ‘Warming Her Pearls’ remains secret and is unrequited. ...

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