In “Anne Hathaway”, the poet, Carol Ann Duffy, shows a relationship between a man and a woman. Compare the way she has done this with three other poems, each one showing the relationship between a man and a woman – one by Simon Armitage and two from the pre-1914 Poetry Bank.
The poem Anne Hathaway by Carol Anne Duffy was written in the voice of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. At the start of the poem, there is a quote from Shakespeare’s will ‘Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed’ gives us an idea about what the poem will be about. When reading this I thought that Shakespeare could not have thought much of his wife if he was only leaving her his second best bed, but after reading the poem, I realized that it could have had a very different representation to what I had originally thought. This poem is written as a sonnet, which is one of the things that Shakespeare was famous for, as she sees their relationship if in terms of his writing.
Another sonnet that talks about the relationship between a man and his wife is sonnet 130, which was actually written by Shakespeare. Both of the poems use imagery and metaphors, but in different ways. Carol Anne Duffy uses imagery like ‘The bed we loved in was a spinning world…’ It goes on to create a list of erotic images that we would imagine to find in some magical world, but it is impossible to find that in a bed. This does not mean that the love they had was imaginary but, as lovers they where inventive unlike the guests that would be sleeping in the best bed ‘our guests dozed on’ which implies that while they lie there being boring, she is in a “spinning world” and having fun.
In sonnet 130, Shakespeare rejects the metaphors that are usually used to describe a beautiful woman such as ‘brighter than the sun’, and twists them to not insult the woman, but to praise her unconventionally ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’. He does this to show a more true full description instead of the usual exaggerated metaphors, which he describes as false compare ‘as any she belied with false compare’, which shows that she is just as beautiful as all the other woman who are described with exaggerated metaphors. This creates a contrast with the poem the was written by Duffy in his wife’s voice, as where she uses metaphors to create a description of a magical world, which is far from what it is really like, Shakespeare rejects metaphors to create a more true full image.
Simon Armitage also shows a loving relationship in his poem Mother, which shows the relationship between himself and his mother, but describes a different kind of love then to what is going on in Anne Hathaway and sonnet 130. He shows this in the first verse when he says ‘any distance greater than a single span requires a second pair of hands’. He is not just talking about measuring the house, but how he will still need his mom’s help, even after he moves out of his parent’s house and into his own. While the other poems are all about describing love for another person, Mother is more about letting go. The Laboratory has a contrast with that, as she cannot let go, so she is getting rid. In this poem, Robert Browning creates a dramatic monologue where we only hear the side of the conservation that the woman is speaking, when she is asking a man to create a poison that will kill the woman that her lover is having an affair with. Unlike the other poems, this poem has a darker side as she is prepared to kill to punish the man she loves and to get him back.
In Mother, Armitage uses the tape measure as a metaphor for the years he has spent with his mother. At them end she holds on to that last one hundredth inch, as it being the last before Armitage makes his own way in the world ‘to fall or to fly’. As the tape unreels, so do the years, as he is able to go back to his mum ‘report back to base’ as if he was describing her as a safety net. This idea comes again when he says ‘Anchor. Kite’. This is a metaphor for him and his mum, as while he is a kite making his way up, she is the anchor that has held him steady and been a security, but it also could be describing her as holding him down. ‘Towards a hatch that opens to an endless sky to fall or fly’. This shows that he is heading towards a life full on opportunities where he can fly, like a kite, but also fall or fly away as he will not have his mum acting as an anchor to stop him making mistakes or being there when he does. Like in Anne Hathaway, he uses metaphors to describe the relationship that is going on, but he does not exaggerate them to the same extent.