Medusa by Carol Ann Duffy

1862 Words8 Pages
The world’s wife is a compilation of poems published in 1999 and written by Carol Ann Duffy, a modern feminist poet. It covers various myths in order to give women a voice. This includes the short monologue like poem: “Medusa”. How do metaphors, symbols and allegories contribute in clarifying the meanings of the poem? Primarily, they emphasise Duffy’s feminist ideals, Medusa’s emotions and aging difficulties.

Medusa, the protagonist, uses the myth metaphorically in order to create a modern and reliable tone, allowing a wider audience and switching the focus from her actions to her feelings. The poem rehabilitates the bad image methodology gave Medusa by making her go from a stoned hearted character into a humane one. Duffy asserts:
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In theory, they personify immortality, (Emerson, n.d, p.1). Whereas Medusa is mortal, her misfortune is eternal. Both snakes and Medusa need to be dominant. They symbolize the bridge, (Emerson, n.d, p.1). Medusa crosses one from weakness to force. It is said that multiple snakes symbolise duality, (Emerson, n.d, p.1): Medusa too, between desires and needs, for instance. Medusa searches balance, another symbol of snakes’, as is intuition, (Emerson, n.d, p.1), which she follows excessively. Is she really dreadful or just feeling so? Snakes symbolize protection, (Emerson, n.d, p.1): them withdrawing from her head could be an appeal for help. We discover a transformation in Medusa, a change of skin. Lastly, if snakes symbolise healing, they also symbolise men with their assertive power, (Emerson, n.d, p.1). Medusa is reaching for man’s place. Snakes crossing symbolise uniting again what was once destroyed, (Emerson, n.d, p.1): the link between her body and soul for example. There is an alliteration insisting on the letter “s”, which is the sound snakes make: “suspicion”, “snakes”, “thoughts”, “hissed”, “spat” and “scalp”, (Duffy, 2008, p.1), intensifying the snake symbolism in a more oral and vocal way. We encounter a symbolic progression in the word pattern of sight: “glanced at a buzzing bee” (Duffy, 2008, p.1, l.10-18), which is written in past tense, she stays distanced and safe. Medusa then “glanced at a singing bird”, (Duffy, 2008, p.1, l.21), still
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