How love is presented in Sonnet 130 to how love is presented in one poem by Duffy
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n the poems Sonnet 130, Havisham, Kid and On my first Sonne, the key rheme of love is explored. Traditionally, love in poems is romantic but other interpretations of love theme are also explored, such as parent and child, idolised love, friendship and sibling love. In these poems, other emotions that reside with different types of love are also explored. Sonnet 130 presents love in a more realistic form, with Shakespeare mocking the idea of traditional love poetry. Havisham explores themes of bitterness, anger, hatred and revenge.
Kid tells the story of how the idol grew up to be a has-been. On my first Sonne features Ben Jonson and a eulogy-style poem for his dead son. Sonnet 130 explores the idea of untraditional love poems. It almost mocks traditional love poems, destroying commonly used similes such as “her eyes are like the sun” with “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”. This shows Shakespeare mocking the false, hyperbolic language that poets commonly write to their lovers. Shakespeare also uses lexis from traditional sonnets, turning conventional and unreal poetry believable.
The hyperbolic language was commonly used in Shakespeare’s day. Shakespeare also still writes in sonnet form, as if to add insult to injury by mocking the love poetry-form even further. The poem Havisham is also an exploration of untraditional love. Duffy uses language techniques that make it seem as if it is speech, such as “Nooooo” and “b-b-b-breaks”. In the first stanza Duffy also uses plosive alliteration in “Beloved sweetheart bastard. ” to reflect Havisham’s anger. ‘Sweetheart bastard’ uses antithesis, which suggests that Havisham has mixed feelings.
It is also oxymoronic, as sweetheart is a traditional love poem word while bastard is an expletive. This presses on her mixed feelings on her ex-fiance, emphasising how much she loved him, but how angry she is that he jilted her. We know the plotline of Havisham’s life as she is a character in the Charles Dickens novel “Great Expectations”, however, the poem is written from Havisham’s viewpoint. “Give me a male corpse” suggests Havisham wants revenge on a dead person, suggesting she’d kill her ex-fiance, or kill for her ex-fiance.
Duffy also uses lots of colours to suggest different feelings in the poem, such as dark green – jealous, puce for the colour of a bruise, which could symbolize hurt for Havisham. Duffy also mentions red, a classic colour used for love but also anger. I think that Kid links to Havisham in that the ‘love’ explored also circulates around hurt, anger and revenge. The story replicates that of Batman and Robin, written from the perspective of Robin. He writes of how Batman – the one the public always adored and looked up to – was not as good as he seemed.
Armitage explores the transition from the innocence of Robin in childhood to the experience of an adult world that Robin did not understand when he was Batman’s sidekick. The transition involves the gaining of freedom, but also the loss of security and comfort. The poem also sees Robin blurting out Batman’s secrets, as if he’s angry and had been suppressing the anger for longer than first thought. Armitage writes, “that caper with the married woman, how you took her downtown on expenses,” as if explaining an affair Batman had with a married woman, the poem sees Robin telling the world all the bad things their supposed hero Batman did.
We do not know exactly why Robin is so frustrated with Batman’s actions, however, he expresses it as though Batman does not care for his sidekick. Armitage writes “let me loose to wander leeward, freely through the wild blue yonder, as you liked to say, or ditched me, rather. ” ‘Wild blue yonder’ suggests a sense of loneliness and makes Robin seem scared. Robin also tries to prove in the poem that he doesn’t need Batman, and he also says “stewing over chicken giblets”, as chicken giblets are the leftovers, he tries to insinuate that Batman is a leftover, the previously unwanted part.
Robin says “I’m not playing ball boy any longer”. ‘Ball boy’ suggests he picks up Batman’s loose ends – a lowly, but crucial role for Batman at least. “Batman, it makes a marvellous picture: you without a shadow,” This hints that Robin thinks Batman is the shadow now, instead of Robin always being the shadow of Batman. Armitage also uses trochaic rhythm. The poem ‘Kid’ relates to ‘On my first Sonne’ in that it revolves around a child and that Robin seems to be ‘mourning’ the old Batman and that Jonson is mourning his son.
Although written in 1616, the theme he explores is a universal one which we can relate to today, as much as Jonson did in his own time. The poem itself is an epigram, a short poem which has a powerful ending. It also resembles an epitaph, which are words in memory of a deceased person. Jonson says ‘rest in soft peace’, which is euphemistic, as it makes the thought of death sound comforting. He also uses iambic pentameter throughout the poem, to create the effect of mimicked conversation with his son, which adds an extra element of grief.
Jonson says “for why will man lament the state he should envie? “, as if saying, why be upset when we should be jealous that he is in heaven. It is clear that Jonson is religious as he also says “seven yeeres tho’wert lent to me,” as if God had lent him his son, or as if it was never meant to be. He also says “My sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy” where he blames himself for his anguish, as if he wishes he had not cared for his son so he didn’t have to suffer now he was gone.
Sonnet 130’s structure is that of a sonnet, traditional love poem form. This structure emphasizes the overall mockery of traditional poems. The rhyme scheme – ABAB – lets the poem flow and is easy to read. ‘Havisham’ uses enjambment frequently, although has no overall structure. This gives the poem monologue effect, like it is unprepared speech. The lack of structure also gives a harsh comparison to Havisham’s overtly structured lifestyle of sitting in her room all day. ‘Kid’ is a comical monologue. It also uses enjambment.
On my first Sonne’ uses iambic pentameter which mimics the effect of speech. He also uses rhyming couplets. In my opinion, the way that the poems link to eachother is vague, but still clear to the readers. I think that all love poems can be linked together, as it is a universal theme that is felt by all cultures, all people and everyone. I think that while each poem has its individual story and ‘theme’, and each theme tries to help the reader interpret the individual sub-theme of love that it featured.