From Mrs Tiresias

Context

One day Tiresias was going for a walk and saw two snakes mating, he didn’t like this so he killed them. The goddess Hera was angry at his actions and turned him into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias served as a priestess of Hera for seven years and even got married and had children. On the seventh year, Tiresias again found a pair of snakes, which this time he decided to leave them alone, releasing himself from the curse and becoming a man again.

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Language Device

Elipse - “the women out there…he knew how we felt”

·         Tiresias cheapens himself by appearing on television to talk about his miraculous gender-change

·         Ironically, he is still a man, beneath his physical transformation- self-pitying, lacking self-awareness and self-absorbed.

·         His claim ‘as a woman himself, he knew how we felt’ is unconvincing. We can speculate that he is exploiting his situation because he enjoys attention and celebrity

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Structural Devices

Short line "Whistling"

This implies that Tiresias was oblivious to his shortcomings and utterly unaware of his impending transformation into a woman and the shock that it would engender.

Carol Ann Duffy punctuates her poem with pithy, short lines that serve as little summaries of what has happened or will happen. They convey Mrs Tiresias’s thoughts and attitudes; she is clearly a realistic, perceptive, intelligent woman, in contrast to her misguided husband.

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