Write a close analysis of ‘Mrs Aesop’ exploring how Duffy conveys her ideas to the reader.
‘The worlds wife’ is a collection of poems by Duffy written by the female halves of well-known men of time in both reality and myth. Duffy has created a literal version of an old saying behind every great man there is an even greater woman. These poems are both shocking and thought provoking as Duffy steps into the shoes of every woman, whose partner has affected history or the world in any way and given them a voice. Aesop was a fabulist credited with a number of fables now collectively known as ‘Aesop's Fables’. Although his existence remains uncertain and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. In many of the tales, animals speak and have human characteristics.
The impious (disrespectful) opening, 'By Christ' foregrounds Mrs Aesop's disrespectful attitude towards her husband. She says he can 'bore for Purgatory' – this is a reference to the Catholic belief in a conceptual space between heaven and hell in which souls are condemned to suffer for their sins after death. Through this Mrs Aesop is literally expressing that her husband is capable of making such a place as purgatory worse than it already is. Aesop's wife belittles him - 'he was small' - and the use of the internal rhyme “didn't prepossess. So he tried to impress” is both comic and cutting.
Through the continuous references to Aesop’s fables, Mrs Aesop is clearly mocking and disrespecting his works that were popular with so many. On the fourth line of the first stanza, Mrs Aesop puts her own twist of one of her husbands many fables – “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, changing it to, “the bird in his hand shat on his sleeve”. By putting this nasty little twist on his work, she is disrespecting both her husband and his work, reflecting her feelings that she...
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