‘The Devil’s Wife’
‘The Devil’s Wife’ is a dramatic monologue that is spilt into five parts depicting the thoughts and feelings of Duffy’s adopted persona – Myra Hindley the infamous Moors murderer. Throughout the poem we learn of the events surrounding meeting Brady, the murders, the trial, its aftermath and overall her conscience towards these events whilst serving life in prison. The overall title of the five individual poems – ‘The Devil’s Wife’ – portrays that the adopted persona hasn’t, as of yet come to terms and accepted the monstrosity of her actions. The title suggests that Brady himself was the Devil and Myra due to a corrupt, influential relationship followed his actions and obeyed his rules. Moreover the first glance at the poem is somewhat deceiving but, as we shall see this first thought can be misjudged, when we examine the structure of the individual poems. The title of the first poem is crucial as it portrays the first part of the story. The title ‘Dirt’ can be analysed as referring to how Brady and Hindley were portrayed in the media and what kind of monsters they were. Moreover it can also be seen as the term used at funeral services as it relates to soil and rituals such as burials. The term also refers to the impurity and the lack of physical cleanliness that Brady and Hindley stole from their victims. The opening line of the first poem: ‘The Devil was one of the men at work’ is somewhat chilling. The first line implies that day to day people that we relate to could potentially be dangerous to our wellbeing, and have the potential to even commit crimes such as killing. Carrying on through the poem we see Hindley reflecting on her first and foremost impressions of Brady himself. She begins by describing Brady in a negative and futile way; she starts by saying ‘He fancied himself’ and ‘Looked at the girls/ in the office as if they were dirt’. These two sentences imply that Brady generally had a negative view of women, and also thought that they were not always innocent. This makes him appear cold and unnerving. In addition she then goes onto state that ‘He didn’t flirt and that he was ‘Different’. This suggests a certain attraction on Hindley’s part; and that in a way Brady stood out from the others. The phrase he was ‘sarcastic and rude’ seems to reflect her personality as she was ‘insolent’ and would ‘stare him out’. It becomes somewhat clear that there are similarities between Brady and Hindley already – and at times seem as bad as each other. The final few lines of stanza one instigates Hindley’s growing affection towards Brady. Her growing need for him is implied in her further statement; she was ‘on fire for him’. Besides the sexual attraction, this phrase may relate the image of Hell, suggesting that the raw passion between them may become morally deprived and perverted. In the final few lines of this poem, Hindley’s passion is evident but later contrasts with the lack of emotion in the final verse of the poem. In the first few lines of stanza two, we again begin to see the contrasting similarities between Hindley and Brady when she states she ‘scowled and pouted and sneered’ and ‘gave/as good as she got’. The consistent harsh sounding words can be looked at as the portrayal of the harshness of the personas of Brady and Hindley. Moreover, the thought that Hindley is being affected by Brady’s wickedness is repeated in this stanza when Hindley’s persona sates ‘put two fags in his mouth’. Also the fact that ‘fags’ sound like’ fangs’ gives another aspect to the evilness of Brady, like the image of a vampire. By using the image of a vampire it gives us the impression that Brady was the original source of evil and Hindley was just an innocent bystander and was influenced by Brady and his corrupted ways. This portrayal is further shown in the fourth line: ‘He bit my breast’. Duffy continues on by having Hindley state that Brady’s use of words was ‘foul’ which implies a frenzied influence as well as...
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