With Close Reference to the Devil’s Wife, Explore How Duffy Presents Power and Compare This with Her Presentation of Power in Other Poems

Topics: Poetry, Rhyme, Beyond Belief: A Chronicle of Murder and its Detection Pages: 4 (1198 words) Published: April 24, 2013
With close reference to The Devil’s Wife, explore how Duffy presents power and compare this with her presentation of power in other poems

In “Dirt”, Duffy tells the tale of Myra Hindley who, in conjunction with Ian Brady murdered six young children. Written as a dramatic monologue, Duffy is able to evoke a sense of empathy in her reader, thus enabling them to form a better understanding of the speaker’s situation, making the poem all the more effective. The majority of the poems in this collection are dramatic monologues, which allows Duffy to foreground the speaker.

Duffy chose to mix structural techniques in The Devil’s Wife, using both end-stopped lines and enjambment. These forces the reader to stop or to carry on as Duffy pleases. It shows that she holds control and can make the reader do what she wants them to, which could be indicative of the power that Brady had over Hindley. It also symbolises the loss of control that Hindley had once Brady became a part of her life.

Throughout her poems Duffy effectively uses rhyme. In Salome, rhymes are used to encourage speed. When words rhyme they are easier and faster to say. The abundance of rhymes reflects on the character’s views on sex. It shows how unimportant and superficial it may be to her. In this extract however, rhyme is used to show a gradual loss of power. Ironically, to be able to rhyme takes control and awareness. In stanza 1, Duffy uses internal rhyme on two occasions: “dirt…flirt” and “gum….dumb” showing that Hindley, as the voice, still has some self-control. “Dirt” and “Flirt” also pose a contrast to each other as the way Brady looks “at the girls in the office” means that he does not value them. Incongruously, he proceeded to establish a relationship with Hindley. However Duffy shows her control when she describes how she “gave as good as [I] got” thereby attracting him. The word “dirt” starts with a hard letter emphasising the meaning of the word and its harshness; the strength of...
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