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Havisham by Carol Ann Duffy

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Havisham by Carol Ann Duffy
In Havisham, Carol Ann Duffy creates an interesting character. Write about the way the character is created, and compare this with the way other characters are created in three other poems. You should compare it with one poem by Simon Armitage and two poems from the pre-1912 poetry bank.

In Havisham, Carol Ann Duffy explores the character of Mrs Havisham and develops her by using vivid imagery and metaphors. She starts the poem with ‘Beloved sweetheart bastard’ which is an oxymoron, used to display her mixed emotions about love and the man who jilted her. The plosive sounds of b and d reinforce her angry tone and helps show how she mocks romance. She is displayed as a bitter, hateful character who seeks revenge, shown with ‘not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead’ and ‘give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon’. This is almost contrasted with her loneliness and sexual frustration explored in the first stanza, with ‘some nights better, the lost body over me, my fluent tongue in it’s mouth in it’s ear then down till I suddenly bite awake.’ This shows her erotic fantasies due to never consummating her marriage but it also shows her sudden realisation that she is only fantasising. This may make the audience feel sorry for her despite her debauched behaviour and thoughts earlier on in the poem. Duffy does this to create a sense of confusion and mixed emotions for the audience, helping them to relate to the character of Havisham. Duffy used enjambment as a metaphor for all the broken things in her life such as her broken heart, her broken thoughts and her broken marriage. Havisham can be linked to ‘The Laboratory’ by Robert Browning as both poems create an interesting female character who has become obsessed with a man who left her. Both poems explore the themes of anger, hatred, jealousy, revenge but also love. The character created in The Laboratory is a vengeful woman who is planning to poison a woman who has ‘stolen’ her ex

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