The Theme Of Love In The Poems Cousin Kate And Maude Clare

The Theme Of Love In The Poems Cousin Kate And Maude Clare

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The Theme Of Love In The Poems Cousin Kate And Maude Clare

Love in most cases is supposedly something wonderful and amazing. This
is not the case in the poems Cousin Kate and Maude Clare. Christina
Rosseti presents love as being sordid and dirty. Also as a weakness
like an affliction. However traditional Victorian ideas are not
supposed to be like this they are about white weddings and true
romance by writing these poems Christina Rosseti has challenged the
original Victorian ideas.

The love in both of these poems involves betrayal. For example, in
Cousin Kate one of the quotes was; 'chose you and cast me by.' This I
find very powerful, in just a few words it explains how she was cast
away and discarded as if she were not human and were replaceable. It
also explains that he chose someone else, the way this is written
makes us think of the author as being like the lord's toy and as soon
as something better came along he chose that. Another quote from this
poem is 'His plaything and his love' again she is regarded as an
object something for him to play with and just use. The fact that is
said His plaything and his love makes her sound like his property,
just something he owned.

An example of betrayal in Maude Clare, is 'here's my half of the faded
leaves.' This makes it sound like a divorce, as if she is ending
everything between the two of them by using the metaphor of giving
back the half of her leaves. It is like handing back the memories and
all the good times they had together. Also the fact that it says the
faded leaves it makes them sound like they are past their best and
decaying, like the love her and sir Thomas had once shared.

Maude Clare says to Nell 'Take my share of a fickle heart' she is
saying part of Thomas's love is her share, but she doesn't want it as
she claims it to be untrue love by using the word 'fickle'.

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Also Maude
Clare uses the word 'Take' this way in which this is said is
suggesting that Maude Clare is giving her a gift, This makes it sound
like Nell has no choice and that Maude Clare just wants to get rid of
a burden.

'My lord gazed long on pale Maude Clare if ever he kissed the bride.'
Thomas has betrayed Maude Clare by marrying Nell but he is has also
betrayed he new bride, rather than kissing her he stares at his lover,
showing he would rather be with her. He didn't kiss his bride he just
looked at 'pale Maude Clare,' she is pale as she is distraught and
heart broken. The man she loves is marrying another women; this shows
betrayal for both of the women. Maude Clare as he is marrying another
women and also his bride Nell, as he is showing his love and desire
for someone else.

In both of these poems pre marriage pregnancies occur. In Cousin Kate
we don't find out till the very end. 'My fair- haired son my shame my
pride.' This part of the stanza explains that she has a son who is her
shame as he is a bastard, a child born out of wedlock, which every one
in the Victorian era would have been frowned upon. But he is her pride
as he is her son whom she obviously loves.

In Maude Clare we discover that Sir Thomas doesn't love his bride
Nell. He has just been forced in to a marriage. We can tell this as at
the wedding Sir Thomas's mother says 'he was not so pale as you nor I
so pale as Nell,' we think of pale as been weak and ill. His mother
starts by saying that Sir Thomas is pale, he is like this because he
is nervous and heart broken, he does not love the women he is going to
marry but someone else so therefore pale. We get the idea that when it
says Nell is pale this means she is pregnant. It makes sense as we
suspect they have been forced in to a marriage.

Rivalry is shown in both of these poems; with cousin Kate it is
between the narrator and Cousin Kate. Examples of this are shown in
the poem 'you grew more fair than I,' by saying this it is saying that
beauty meant a lot, and in this paragraph it makes the narrator sound
envious that her cousin was younger and more beautiful. We get the
impression that she is younger as she says 'you grew' this makes it
sound like she had blossomed and grown in to a young women. This shows
that the lord's interest is based on body.

It also shows comparisons between the two women 'because you were so
good and pure he bound you with his ring: Because you were so good and
pure, call me an out cast thing.' This shows the comparison that
virginity meant a lot in those days to be married you had to be pure
and still a virgin. If not you were out cast, which is what happened
to the narrator. The words bound and thing suggest that she is not
humanised.

The poem compares the narrator and cousin Kate on many occasions
really showing the rivalry between the two of them it also says: 'Even
so I sit and howl in dust you sit in gold and sing,' this is quite
shocking, it is showing the narrator as no longer being human in
Victorian times just because she had lost her virginity before
marriage she was no longer cast as human and by this quote it sounds
like the narrator is actually beginning to believe this herself as she
even uses animal imagery. 'Howl in dust' howling is what animals such
as wolves and dogs do she is dehumanising herself and looking up and
her rich beautiful cousin showing that her cousins status is far above
hers now so the rivalry may as well be over.

In Maude Clare the rivalry is between Nell and Maude Clare, and in
this poem Maude Clare actually confronts Nell. ' Take my share of a
fickle heart. Mine of a paltry love.' Maude Clare confronts the bride
Nell, really emphasising that it is her that he is in love with still
but that no longer wants it. Nell replies with 'yea though you are
taller by the head, wise and much more fair; I'll love him till he
loves me best, me best of all, Maude Clare.' So Nell replies by
admitting that Maude Clare is more beautiful and more perfect than
her, and she is willing to stand by her husband till he eventually
feels the same way about her. We sympathise greatly with Nell because
of the way Maude Clare spoke to her and told her husband didn't love
her; I think Maude Clare did this in a last attempted to be with her
lover and to end things, we sympathise more with Nell when she says
"ill love him till he loves me best," this is because she knows he
dosent love her but se is preapared to be with some one who does not
love her in return.

Another thing Nell says to Maude Clare is 'For he's my husband for
better for worse, and him I love Maude Clare.' As you can tell she
repeats some of the marriage vows and refers to him as her husband.
She emphasis that she has him and there is nothing Maude Clare can do
about it.

Both of the poems show the man as being more powerful, for example in
Maude Clare he is always referred to as 'My lord,' this is a powerful
effect as to them he is like a lord, especially for Nell now that she
is married to him. In Victorian times if a women marries someone they
legally no longer exist as a person just as property to the man. Which
is why he is like a god or a lord, he decides everything for her.

In Cousin Kate it also shows how the male is more powerful, he is more
powerful then the narrator because of his status. She was just a
country maiden he was a great lord. Also the fact that he is a man
makes him more powerful. In the poem he is made to sound unkind and
bitter, for example 'he lured me to his palace home.' He tricked her
and lured her like a hunter might do to an animal, which again shows
he has more power. He doesn't treat her as if she is a human to him
this is just a game to hunt her down then use her as his plaything
until he gets bored and has to hunt again.

Another reason which shows he has more power is the fact he slept with
the narrator then just discarded her and moved on to her cousin. A
woman in those days could not do that and it would not be possible;
she would be considered by the people of the Victorian era as a wanton
strumpet; but for the man things were different he could sleep around
and get away with things as that's just the way things were.

I think both of the poems represent the meaning of love in similar
ways. They each involve one man and two women; they also both involve
betrayal, beauty, pre-marriage pregnancies and rivalry. Christina
Rosseti didn't show love as being the wonderful emotion that most
people think it is. She portrayed love as feelings of wretchedness and
despair.
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