Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'Havisham' is a dramatic monologue written from the eyes of the infamous character Miss Havisham who is extracted from Dickens’s 'Great Expectations'. Miss Havisham is a very disturbing character for a number of different reasons conceived by the pain and hurt she has endured through out her life after being jilted at the altar many years before the poem is set. Through out Havisham we learn that there is more underlying problems to Havisham than what was once acknowledged. Hatred completely destroys Havisham and that instead of helping her to get revenge, it makes her worse which results in her hating all men.
In the first stanza of the poem, we immediately learn about Miss Havisham through her gritty honesty. She is expressing the pain of being jilted at the altar as she reveals her personal feelings of the man she was about to marry. “Beloved sweetheart bastard.”
Here we see Duffy opening the poem in an oxymoronic way. She uses this technique to entise us in to the poem and to emphasise the contrast of her hectic feelings towards her ex-lover. This is also a very controversial way of opening the poem, possibly throwing us in at the deep end right at the start to establish what type of person Havisham is and to prepare us for the roller-coaster ahead. 'Beloved' being the man she once loved, 'Sweetheart' a word we typically call our loved ones and 'Bastard' an offensive swear word. All highly contrasting words which makes us feel disturbed as we enter the poem. This opening of the poem is very abrupt and it's almost as if we've walked in on Miss Havisham in the midst of a breakdown. It's also climatic, something in which we'd typically see at the end of a poem, building tension but controversially Duffy opens in this way to lead us in to the scheming mind set of Havisham. “Not a day since then
I haven't wished him dead”
The more animalistic side of Havisham is apparent in these lines. The man she so loved, she is now wishing death...
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