Essay about Compare the way in which poets create a threatening or menacing

Essay about Compare the way in which poets create a threatening or menacing

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Compare the way in which poets create a threatening or menacing
atmosphere in four poems. Write about Salome by Carol Ann Duffy and
compare it with one poem from Simon Armitage and two from the pre 1914

The poem ‘Salome’, by Carol Ann Duffy, is written in the first person,
seemingly from the perspective of a woman given indicators such as the
fact that the person has been involved intimately with a man; ‘the
reddish beard’. The first three lines of the poem, all of which uses
enjambment, only come to make sense as the poem is read, meaningless
on their own. Carol Ann Duffy then immediately establishes an ominous
ambience to the poem with the line ‘woke up…head…beside me’. The odd
singularity of the head being mentioned by itself, as opposed to a
body or person suggests that perhaps the head is indeed detached from
its body, a suggestion that is later confirmed.

The first stanza focuses upon the apparent victim and the speaker’s
reaction and opinion of him. Lines such as ‘What did it matter?’ and
‘What was his name?’ create a flippant nonchalance to the speaker in a
chilling manner as, far from feeling remorse for these appalling and
condemnable actions, she clearly feels very little, appearing
indifferent. Words used such as ‘colder’ and ‘dry’ further establish a
menacing atmosphere, and Carol Ann Duffy introduces very contemporary
ideas and slang to the poem, such as cigarettes, and expressions such
as ‘turf out’, ‘booze’ and ‘ain’t life a bitch’. There are internal
rhymes throughout the stanzas, all with words with the suffix ‘-er’;
for example, ‘butter’, ‘clatter’, ‘clutter’, ‘patter’ and ‘batter’ –
all words that appear in the second stanza. Along with the general
tone of the speaker, these ...

... middle of paper ...

...n a way that does
not match the previous speakers makes the poem less threatening when
compared to, for example, ‘Salome’. The speaker in ‘The Laboratory’ is
much more visibly unbalanced, entering into a ‘black humour’ category
along with ‘Salome’ because of its rhyming scheme. The poem’s rhyming
scheme further backs this idea; the rhythm of the poem, ‘they know…
what they do’ creates a lighter effect. This indicates that Browning
intended to the poem to be more comic then horrific as it so
outrageous, especially in comparison to the quite, subdued
ruthlessness of the speaker in ‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘Salome’. The
poem creates a vaguely menacing atmosphere in its topic, premeditated
murder, but the way in it is written makes it very different from the
other three, which are much darker and far more threatening in the
atmosphere they create for the reader.

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