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Mrs Beast by Carol Anne Duffy

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1551
  • Category: Poems

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Mrs Beast is a central poem to the anthology, if not the most central poem. It contains a sum up of Duffy’s message of “The Worlds Wife” and is the only poem in the anthology that is able to convey that message in one.

The narrator in the poem is much like Carol Anne Duff” as she sets to straighten out all “these myths going round, these legends, fairytales.” However this is referring too much of what she has been writing about in The Worlds Wife where there is always a woman behind the man.

In Mrs Beast, the narrator is interpreted as a strong woman, who has complete control over the “Beast” of the poem. He may not be the most charming, handsomest and most popular but “they’re bastards when they’re princes” and the narrator chose a beast. The poem shows a lot of techniques, which show the power that the woman has ” my own black horse at the gates ready to carry me off at one wrong word” “The lady says do this”. This is Carol Anne Duffy’s message in a lot of her anthology as she uses a lot of other poems to display power. One of these is Queen Kong, in which the role of power is turned around when a huge ape has total control of the situation and relationship “didn’t he know I could swat his plane from these skies like a knat.” This is symbolic of her power over him and her strength when it is typically the man who has the strength. Therefore Carol Anne Duffy does use a lot of different poems to show that women are powerful. This is why Mrs Beast is central to “The Worlds Wife” because it contains a lot of powerful messages that Carol Anne Duffy conveys through other poems.

In Mrs Beast, we get the feeling of importance from the narrator and also that she is perhaps the most powerful woman in the entire anthology. This maybe because it is the second to last poem in The Worlds Wife, and may want to leave the reader with the feeling of astonishment or dismay at the fact that the poem is so powerful. Throughout Mrs Beast we also see our narrator play a game of cards with some friends. These happen to be beautiful and rich “us beautiful and rich” and also happen to have “beasts” as husbands, therefore putting them at a powerful position as with Mrs Beast because the husbands will be glad to have their wives around.

This again emphasises the point of power. However the part of the poem that really makes the whole poem a central part of the anthology is the fact that during the poker game, ghosts stand behind their chairs. These ghosts happen to be “Marilyn Monroe” “Henry VIII’s” wives and “Diana, Princess of Wales.” These are women in history who have lost it all to men, who gave men all their love and lost all they had, including their hearts. This is a very specific point in the poem because these women represent “Myra Hindley” “Mrs Quasimodo” and “Mrs Midas” and all the other voices in the anthology as they are the ghosts who lost it all to men. Some women do get the last laugh on the men, but this is rare and is Duffy’s point on humour.

A woman who did lose everything including her freedom to a man is Myra Hindley who is famous for the murders of children along with her partner Ian Brady. The poem is giving Myra Hindley a voice and opinions. The narrator in the poem claims, “It was him” when talking about the murders in the third chapter of the poem. This is crucial and relates back to “Mrs Beast” because Myra Hindley claims to be manipulated by her partner. While in Mrs Beast we see that in fact that could never happen to that narrator because she is in full control of the relationship. In the first chapter of “The Devils Wife” we see the relationship progress. Myra liked Brady for his charm and bad boy attitude. In comparison to “Mrs Beast” the narrator went for a man that she could get and need not have worked for. Myra had to be “insolent, dumb” “scowled, pouted and sneered” to grab Brady’s attention.

In “Mrs Beast” the beast was happy to do the chasing and begging because he is a beast compared to his beautiful wife and is happy to have her. “What you need is a beast” is the advice that Mrs Beast gives to the reader. The girls she raises her glass too, are the women like Myra, who chase after guys and give them everything. Myra ended up imprisoned for life because Brady manipulated her into murdering children. She was so in love, it blinded her “I swooned in my soul.” We can tell that she wouldn’t have done this if she had not have met Brady “he made me bury a doll.” In “Mrs Beast” it was the narrator making the beast do things “do this harder” “do that faster.” Myra gets a lifetime imprisonment for what she did, all because she was in love with a man. This is the message that Duffy is trying to get across in her anthology and also in “Mrs Beast.” The glasses are raised to the women who lost everything because they were in love with a man. At the end of the poem, Myra realises what she has done and what he did to her, but by that time it was too late and she had already become a ghost.

Mrs Beast is essential the anthology because it sums up the entire anthology is about. However there are some exceptions in the anthology and some poems that do not fit entirely well into Duffy’s message. One of these is “Anne Hathaway.” Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare’s wife. Shakespeare did happen to write much of the English language and create a lot of popular literature. Therefore perhaps Duffy has some reason as to celebrate him in her poem. The poem does not fit in with the anthology because it simply has nothing bad to say about a man. It shows the man to be the smarter and more respected person in the poem. The poem celebrates their love and a marriage working out and also a man being a loyal and faithful husband. This is similar to “Mrs Beast” because in fact the beast turns out to be the loving one with the less loving one being the narrator “with the less loving one being me.” The poem Anne Hathaway is a sonnet, which is a love poem. The poem itself is littered with metaphors, which are all symbolic of how strong their love was “dive for pearls” “lovers words were shooting stars that fell to earth as kisses” “verb dancing in the centre of a noun.”

Yet the all represent sexual acts that occurred on the second best bed too. This is different to anything in the anthology particularly other poems. In “The Devils Wife” the sex is described as rough and lustful “he entered me” “he bit my breast.” In most of the other poems there are a lot of detailed sexual images that do not really describe the romance of the sex “he fucked me until I was sore” is a quote from a poem in the anthology which best represents my argument. In “Mrs Beast” the sex is described as “invited” where both people are satisfied with what they have and he wants her. The sex is very much in control of the woman, in Mrs Beast. This could be because she wants to show power yet again or she wants to show that in many of the poems in the anthology are loosely based around sex. This could be to show that Duffy thinks that men are only after sex and women feel inclined to give it to them. Therefore it becomes an essential part of a relationship. In Anne Hathaway the sex is more romantic than any other poem, making it an outcast in the anthology. The poem also praises men, which it doesn’t in any other poem in the book and makes them seem like intelligent and empowered. Yet this is what makes it different to the anthology.

Mrs Beast really is an important poem to the anthology. It shows, tells, and represents every other poem in the anthology and sums them all up as one. It backs up other poems and is a very smart move to place at the end of the anthology, as it will really open peoples eyes to the reality of what happened to Marilyn Monroe, and Diana. They gave their hearts and ended up and ghosts known for their tragic endings in love. Nearly all of them died, which is emphasised as they “stood a line of ghosts” behind women who can control their men and have never had men make fools of them. At the end of the poem it is very symbolic. She is in control of the relationship for the sake of all the women who gave it their all and lost.

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