Differences Between Carol Ann Duffy's And Shakespeare's Way Of Portraying Relationship Between Men And Women

1367 words - 6 pages

Compare the ways in which any two texts in this topic area examine relationship between men and women.

Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare and Carol Ann Duffy’s poems examine relationships between men and women. According to their themes, both texts would talk about women being seen as objects of desire by men, women being dominated by men and women being on the losing end in a marriage. However, they differ in ways which some themes like women being dominant in a relationship and women objectifying men are mentioned in poems like Queen Kong and Dear Norman by Carol Ann Duffy but not mentioned in Taming of the Shrew.

Both taming of the shrew (TOTS) and poems such as Standing Female Nude ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, both TOTS and these two poems show how sexually objectified women are in their various relationships with men.

The two texts also discuss the dominant role of men in a relationship- be it in a marriage or in society. This is shown by Petruchio’s dominance over Katherine in TOTS and in the poem The Dummy by Carol Ann Duffy. In TOTS, Petruchio dominates over Katherine by not letting her sleep or eat in an attempt to ‘tame’ her and he refers to this as the beginning of his ‘reign’ and afterwards, Katherine mentions that women are ‘bound to serve, love and obey’. This shows that in a marriage, men can have complete authority over women, as signified by the word ‘reign’ and that women have to not only comply but also to ‘serve, love and obey’ and this shows the dominance of women in a marriage.

In the poem The Dummy, the persona, a ventriloquist’s doll, is drawn parallel to a woman while the ventriloquist represents men. The phrases ‘the voice you give me’ and ‘I can’t tell you/anything if you don’t throw me a cue line’ shows that woman rely on men for support. ‘the voice you gave me’ shows that women need to rely on man to stand up for them as having a ‘voice’ symbolizes voicing out their own opinions and it could also mean that women doesn’t have a view of themselves but are influenced by the views of men around them. Also ‘ I can’t tell you /anything if you don’t throw me a cue line’ reinforces the point that women’s views are influenced by men much as the topic of the conversation would be influenced by the cue. This shows how men are able to influence their views on women and this again shows that men have dominance over women till the extent that they are able to enforce their views on them. Hence, both TOTS and The Dummy shows how men are more dominant than women in their relationships – be it in a marriage or in the society.

The subject of women being at the losing end in a marriage is also portrayed in TOTS as well as in the poem Whoever She Was. In TOTS, Katherine loses her identity after getting married to Petruchio. Before marrying Petruchio, she was referred to as an ‘intolerable curst’ who is ‘shrewd’ and ‘froward’ and refuse to give into men but afterwards she mentions that her ‘lances are but straws’ and that women should ‘kneel for peace’ instead of offering ‘war’. Therefore, we can see the change in Katherine’s personality and say that she has indeed taken on a new identity and has lost her previous identity and in this process, she has lost the freedom that she once enjoyed.

In Whoever She Was, the phrases ‘My maiden name sounds wrong’ and ‘She cannot be myself’ shows the...

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