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Compare the way poets create powerful characters in `Medusa' and one other poem from
Character and voice.
Medusa is a dramatic monologue written in first person about a woman who feels betrayed by her
husband which has caused her to turn into `medusa', a greek myth. Horse whisperer is also a
dramatic monologue , with the horse whisperer himself telling the reader of his experience of a
horse tamer. Both the characters in these poems show a several strong emotions which are shown
through the language, form and structure of the poem.
Both these poems are written in a free verse form. I believe both Duffy and Foster have used this
form as it allows them to show the full range of emotions being shown. Also, since there is no
`control' over the poem, it shows there is also no `control' over human emotions ; they can engulf a
person and even change them, as shown in medusa. A dramatic monologue format is used as it
helps us understand the emotion from the people themselves rather than from another person.
Structure is also an important aspect to which emotions are shown through. In Medusa, one
structural feature which is used is sentence and line length. Medusa is not confused about how
she feels and uses short , abrupt sentences to show her bitterness towards her husband. The
sentence `Be terrified' has an almost chilling effect as it is only made up of two words yet
intimidates the reader. Also in the beginning of the poem the lines are much longer than they are
at the end, showing her patience is also getting shortened too. Another structural feature is the
rhyme used in the poem. Although the poem is written in free verse , there are also some rhyme
pattern, as if Medusa is trying to control SOME aspects of her life. The assonance rhyme between
`eyes' and `terrified' sounds menacing and puts across her strong feeling of hurt in a almost
dangerous way. Duffy uses half rhyme such as `yellow fanged' and `foul tongued' to draw attention
to these descriptions, showing Medusas feeling of disgust towards herself. Another feature Duffy
uses is the laying out of stanzas. In the first stanza the word `jealousy' is longer than 4 of the
other lines, to draw attention to one of the strongest feelings she has. Also the fact that the last
line `Look at me now' which could mean for him to see what she's changed into or look so she can
turn him into stone, is apart from the other stanzas , showing the point where her anger has
reached `boiling point'
The Horse Whisperer also contains several structural features which add to the emotions of the
horse whisperer. Like Medusa, the laying out of stanzas are one feature used by Foster. In the first
stanza, `to my hands' sticks out , revealing the feeling of pride that he had about his job. Another
feature would be the use of cesura in stanza three - " no longer" which emphasises the hurt and
also betrayal that the horse whisperer felt when he was `no longer' needed. This is also shown in
stanza four, `no more' is stopped in the middle of the stanza which shows the bitterness the horse
whisperer was feeling. The varying stanza length could also be symbolic of the horse whisperers
happiness which is more at the beginning (onger stanza) and much less at the end (shorter stanza).
The language shown in Medusa reveals a lot about the range of emotions she was experiencing.
The emotions are so prominent that the first line in the poem introduces them " a suspicion , a
doubt , a jealousy" . Jealousy is the main emotion that Medusa is feeling and is what `turned the
hairs on my head to filthy snakes'. The fact that the jealousy made Medusa what she is shows the
extent of it and how it has almost ` supernatural powers'. Duffy uses the power of three as it
strongly conveys what medusa is feeling Also the metaphor used for her tears `bullets' which
shows her feelings of hurt are dangerous ; bullets are hard and dangerous objects unlike normal
tears which show simply sadness , showing Medusas emotions go beyond the ones of humans.
Another emotion she experiences is anger. She believe her husband has cheated and apart from
being jealous of that she is furious. This is shown when she uses vivid imagery to describe the way
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We see how the anger medusa
is feeling has been expressed in an almost extremely violent way. Also, the metaphor of dragon to
compare herself which are associated with violence and death also portrays what her emotions
have made her. Apart from the feelings of anger and jealousy, which are evident from the poem we
also see Medusa feeling insecure about herself.…read more