Misogyny in the Poem "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes" by Thomas Gray

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Female writing during the 18th century became a popular method of expressing feminine mentality on issues that were previously considered forbidden. Writers such as Aphra Behn, Mary Leapor and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu published their works alongside many respected male poets such as Jonathan Swift and Thomas Gray. Women were gaining a sense of independence and emancipation from the traditional patriarchal rule, and this was occurring at an increasingly rapid pace. Many female poets of the time wrote works that dealt with the treatment of women by men, and how they are slaves to masculinity. At the same time, these women were degrading men to the role of an oppressing tyrant. Male poets, such as Jonathan Swift and Thomas Gray, began to…show more content…
Selima is at leisure when observing her inverted reflection in the smooth "lake" (6), which represents the water in the China vase. As she joyously gazes upon her image she "purred applause" (12) as she adored her view, and continued to gaze until "two angel forms were seen to glide" (14) in the vase. This section of the poem echoes Eve's character Milton's Paradise Lost:

As I bent down to look, just opposite

A shape within the watery gleam appeared,

Bending to look on me: I started back,

It started back; but pleased I soon returned,

Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks

Of sympathy and love: There I had fixed

Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,

Had not a voice thus warned me; 'What thou seest,

What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself [.] (www.byrosons.net, Book IV, 460-468)

Both Eve and the female cat narcissistically become fascinated with their own reflections, allowing themselves to become blinded from their unfortunate destinies, which lead them to their own demise and self destruction. Another stereotypical assumption of women is that they contain an unappeasable desire for material goods. Since women are also exuding a newfound sense of control and power in the literary world, Gray also illustrates that, stereotypically, women do not have any control or power over the situations they place themselves in. The

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