Comparison of Character and Voice

1678 Words Oct 22nd, 2012 7 Pages
Discuss the ways in which the poets present character and voice in;
‘Medusa’ and ‘Les Grands Seigneurs’

The two poems; ‘Medusa’ and ‘Les Grands Seigneurs’ (LGS) have their similarities and differences. The most obvious being both speakers are women and how they subdue men. However, the most apparent difference is the way both poets present character, with ‘Medusa’ and her jealousy and mistrust towards her partner; ‘…a doubt, a jealously’. The standards of a woman are lowered; she is bitter, vicious and twisted. Having snakes for hair and revealing the monster she has become, whereas in LGS the dominance and prowess of the woman is expressed, men desperate for her attention; ‘my hurdy-gurdy monkey-men’. Almost as if she has the men on
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The use of this here is to symbolise the sexual meaning in ‘butt’ which carries a double meaning, men were her support, allowing the voice of the poem to have a joke. Remaining with ‘my buttresses’ the use of ‘my’ is a possessive pronoun, once again reinforcing her superiority. In verse two ‘the bowers’ is a reference to a shady or leafy recess where lovers might go, however the courtesan could not marry as she was ‘out of reach’, once again augmenting the semantic field. Continuing with the first stanza LGS much like ‘Medusa’ uses pleasant images, albeit they are sexual puns; ‘peacocks’ and ‘cockatoos’. Here the voice is suggesting men are birds, that they show off their colours (peacocks) or their feathers stand up (cockatoos).
Both poems present voice in the form of a 1st person narrative, allowing the reader to see the point of view (opinions and thoughts) of the narrator. The poem ‘Medusa’ calls out directly to the ‘you’, the lover; ‘and here you come’. LGS on the other hand speaks out to the men and their desperation, how they are shallow creatures; ‘men were my dolphins’. One thing the poems have in common is found in the first word of the first verse, LGS uses; ‘men’ and ‘Medusa uses ‘a suspicion’. The effect of this is that the poems straight into the subject, with Duffy’s use of ‘suspicion’ inferring that the speaker is paranoid. Looking at the final stanza in LGS the voice has changed from active to passive, the
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