What do you find distinctive about Duffy’s use of dramatic monologue
A Dramatic Monologue is describes as a literary, usually verse composition in which a speaker reveals his or her character, often in relation to a critical situation or event, in a monologue addressed to the reader or to a presumed listener. This incorporates the event being described and revealed through the character they write about as a past time even in there own life. Carol Ann Duffy uses the power of free speech and protest to convey her message by using Dramatic Monologues.
These monologues draw attention to the social historical facts of male supremacy that existed as she wrote a selection of her male dominating poems in Britain in 1985-1987 entitled “Standing female nude” and “selling Manhattan”. Duffy’s collection “Standing female nude includes an explicitly male domineering poems. It is “Standing female nude”. This poem becomes distinctive as it includes the monologues of two voices, the women and the artists, as oppose to the common form of just one voice.
Although both revealed to be in the same social class in stanza three as the women says that they are “Both poor” and “we make our living how we can” the male is still the dominating character over her. The opinions are shown shared by the use of enjambment as the sentence “his name is George” crosses over stanzas between monologues. There is a clear commitment to giving voice to female perspective on life as Duffy shows the women to be practical and realistic in comment such as the way the women says she is concerned “with the next mean” and where it will come from.
She compares this with the male artist who is less concerned with a meal and more about “volume, space” showing the women to be conveyed more with a sense of realism to the male, but still hinting at male stability in the world as the overruling power. She is quick to expose the unacceptably aggressive sexism of me as she describes the artist in a vampinic manner “as he drains the colour” from her, illustrating an aggressive form. Duffy immediately portrays the women to be exploited by male supremacy by the women’s opinion that she will be “represented analytically” almost like an animal or a test subject.
This enforces great derogatory towards her and expresses Duffy’s views that women are not an equal sex. This view reflects much of the social historical context of the time it was written in 1985 of Margaret Thatcher being Britain’s first women Prime Minister and going against the grain in the gender divide by fighting as a women in politics and a role modal for many women in Britain. Duffy appears to aspire too much of Thatcher’s influence and illustrates how exploited women were at the time.
Duffy also goes against the grain of opinion that women should be equal and are exploited as humans using her protest through this dramatic monologue. The second classic example of female exploitation and lack of appreciation for women is in the poem “Recognition” also in the group of poems entitled “Standing Female Nude”. This poem expresses her loss of identity and recognition for herself. Immediately we see the affects of the loos of recognition using the third person narrative she writes “things get away from one” as if to be an onlooker enforcing her loss of identity.
The third person is also used as she is portrayed with little confidence and no purpose to achieve in life causing her to lose her reflection. She says “… and bumped into an anxious, dowdy matron who touched the cold mirror” An example of loss of self respect, image, dignity and confidence as she doesn’t recognise her own reflection and isn’t even intrigued by what she has become just stares and apologises. Her repetition apology of “I’m sorry sorry sorry” emphasis the nature of regret of the poem.
The tone of the piece is empathy and gains the sympathy of the reader to feel for her sadness and self pity she wallows in at times. “Recognition” can be compared to “Standing female nude” in that it discusses the same situation of male dominance and lack of appreciation for females. In recognition we see this in “He gets upset. I tried to do all the essentials on one trip. Foolish, yes” The above shows her own self pitying demise as the male is angered at her incompetence that is only due to the fact that he placing the “essentials” all on her and taking no responsibility in the relationship.
Shows that she may not be with him for love but “through habit” and the love like “proof has evaporated” being the foundations of there relationships. This reveals her only connection to him being survival that the male is the bread winner and essential for the women. This is much similar as the Artist who is Male is paying the Women in “Standing female nude” and this is what she survives on so she is dependant on him. Psychopath depicts a male sovereignty using much more aggressive methods to acquire his power and force the female into being subversive.
Psychopath sees the destruction of male supremacy and what it can lead to as he rapes a defenceless women and is very suggestive to past offences of rape too. Duffy hints this as the Psychopath speaks out names of past victims it appear like “Ruth Ellis” who gave him a “farewell” kiss as to never come back because she’s dead, judging by the tone of the piece. But Duffy portrays him as a very nai?? ve character as she depicts him when he speaks as if he is doing nothing wrong.
He believes he has a “memory loss” as he tries to block out the thoughts of sin and wrong doing altering his world to his own perfection. He compares him self to Elvis, Brando and other cult figures claiming there “nothing” compared to him. Psychopath’s distinctive elements are most seen in lines such as “a dog craps by a lamp post” Being deliberately irregular and abstract Duffy brings attention to it by illustrating how the psychopath thinks. This shows the psychopath to be deliberately unromantic which is a stereotypical attribute in modern culture but puts a psychopathic twist to the poor romance.
This monologue is full of irregular phrases and draws much debate to the effects of men having extreme authority and power over women resulting in death and rape in this case. Alongside the dominance Duffy also projects a loss of identity for the Psychopath as he tries to aspire to and he believes he is better than, Elvis, Brando and others he loses his identity in the process. The most apparent indication to a loss of identity is the way the Psychopath reveals how his “reflection sucks a sour Woodbine and buys me a drink”.
Depicting himself but has no connection to his reflection it seems in his mind not recognizing it to be himself and a rather split personality showing vanity. To conclude Duffy’s chief objectives in the poems preceding is to convey her massage of Male dominance and female submission as a reaction to it. This is depicted as a loss of recognition and self belief. This can also be a separate theme all together as we see the male in Psychopath to be at a loss when it comes to self acknowledgment.
But the fact that the only male Duffy appears to be showing is the psychopath to lose there identity causes much debate. This causes Duffy’s views to be appreciated in that all the others who have no identity are women who have little or no self confidence and portrayed as submissive contrasted to normal men, who generally are the self confident believers. Duffy’s views are seen that it takes a warped psychopath to be an exception to the rule, putting women and the psychopath on the same level socially.
This comparison between the psychopath and women reflects her protest against sexism and the demoralisation and derogatory views of women that existed in 1980’s Britain when she wrote the poems, “Standing female nude”, “recognition” and “Psychopath”. Duffy utilizes dramatic monologues that are compared above to convey the meaning of her verse to the audience in protest. Protest against these views of 1980’s Britain to reflect the true Spirit of Duffy’s protest against the dominance of Males and female suppression.