Compare and Contrast Havisham and Anne Hathaway by Carol Ann Duffy

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Compare and Contrast ‘Havisham’ and ‘Anne Hathaway’.

The poems ‘Havisham’ and ‘Hathaway’ are all written by Carol Ann Duffy, England’s poet laureate. She became the first woman to be our poet laureate in late April 2009. Carol Ann Duffy was born on December 23 1955 in Glasgow. She worked as a freelance writer in London and has written poetry books such as: Standing Female Nude (1985), Selling Manhattan (1987), The Other Country (1990), Mean Time (1993), The World's Wife (1999) and The Feminine Gospels (2002).

Both of these poems are monologues using female voices. In ‘Havisham’ and ‘Hathaway’ she talks about emotions and memories.

In the poem ‘Havisham’ it is a popular belief that Duffy is writing from the perspective of a character from Dickens’ Great Expectations, Miss Havisham, who was jilted by her scheming fiancé. She continues to wear her wedding dress and sit amid the remains of her wedding breakfast for the rest of her life, while she plots revenge on all men.

In ‘Hathaway’ Carol Ann Duffy writes in the voice of a real person, Anne Hathaway, who was Shakespeare’s wife. In the poem Anne sees her relationship with Shakespeare in terms of his own writing. She uses the sonnet form which Shakespeare favoured. She suggests that as lovers they were as inventive as Shakespeare was in his dramatic poetry. She mentions them using the “next best bed” but she still feels that her bed is the best to her and Shakespeare because of the memories. At the end, I believe she speaks about him dying; “I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head”.

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        In both poems there is someone that has gone missing; a male that is absent, either dead or left. Also they are all about a character, either from a book (Great Expectations) or a real person (Shakespeare’s wife).

        ‘Havisham’ is written in a monologue style which provides the speaker with a realistic voice. It is basically a big oxymoron. It is about love and hate, the biggest contrast.

        Through the use of images such as “red balloon bursting” Havisham demonstrates how love continues to hurt her. A balloon is supposed to be a fun object but this one ...

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