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Essays On Havisham By Carol Ann Duffy


Havisham is a poem featuring a woman who was jilted at the altar by her ex-fiance, and has never recovered, living the remainder of her life alone and consumed by jealousy, anger and regret. The love presented in this poem is highly unconventional in that to Havisham, her and her ex-fiance resume an entirely imaginary relationship, in which she is constantly hurt and reminded of the abandonement.

The poem begins with an explanation of her love for her ex-fiance turning and becoming hate, in the form of a potent oxymoron, that reads, "Beloved, sweetheart bastard." The words beloved and sweetheart are conventional compliments used to represent true love, and often included in love poems. Whereas,"Bastard" is a strongly offensive word that is often used to express hate. The poem, "Human interest." by Carol Ann Duffy also shows love becoming an extreme of hate; describing a situation in which a man accuses his wife of cheating and eventually kills her.

Vengeful love is a strongly expressed type of love in the poem, "Havisham." It is shown through out the poem that Ms. Havisham desperately wants revenge on her ex-fiance. the line, "Not a day since then I haven't wished him dead." shows that Havisham is so devoured by hate and bitterness that she never faulters to wish death upon her ex-fiance, and that it has caused her to have, "Dark green pebbles." for eyes, which explains that they have the hardness of rock, yet are green- the colour of jealousy; and veins on the back of her hands she could, "strangle with." Which is the first time in the poem that Havisham shows or describes imaginary physical violence directed at her ex-fiance. The continuity of expressions of physical violence in Havisham not only develops the idea of Love driving Havisham to do negative things, but shows an abscence of self control when it comes to her ex-fiance.

A difference in the poems, "Havisham" and "My last Duchess"  is that despite the fact that both of the subjects of the poem want to kill another person, The duke in "my last duchess" has the power to, and does. Unfortunately, not only does Havisham no longer know the man who abandoned her, she is powerless and only able to wish for his death.

Ultimately, the deprival of love, or at least, positive or conventional love, to  Ms. Havisham destroyed her life, and left her feeling sorry for herself and not able to overcome her emotions.


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