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    A love sonnet by Carol Ann Duffy

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    “Anne Hathaway” by Carol Ann Duffy is a love sonnet that describes a fond love. It is taken from the point of view of the famous play-writes wife, Anne Hathaway. It is a very passionate love sonnet although it doesn’t take the traditional form of a conventional sonnet; it is more of a monologue. In fact there is only one rhyme, in the last couplet. “Sonnet 130” is a poem written by William Shakespeare himself, this is an immediate connection to Anne Hathaway but there is a clear difference in the style and content of the two poems. Duffy’s approach is far more a romantically powerful and passionate, where as Shakespeare takes a rather unstereotypical approach to his feelings for his wife.

    In the first line of “Anne Hathaway” there is a clear passion and an instant reference to five of Shakespeare’s plays: A Midsummer Nights Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest. The general feel of the first stanza is that of an enormous bond and earthly involvement in his love for Anne. Carol Ann Duffy mentions dramatic events such as “shooting stars fell to earth as kisses”. This is how many people would imagine a love poem written by Shakespeare to be, using strong, passionate words. The fact that kisses were mentioned brings an instant romantic theme into the poem. This approach of trying to recreate Shakespeare’s style is apparent throughout the poem. The way the words are emphasised suggests that there is a strong romance, an example of this is “…shooting stars…kisses…” all of which are keywords in the sentence.

    The next stanza has even more of an intimate theme as touch and physical contact is desperately. There is no hiding a higher level of intimacy and depth

    “…on these lips; my body…”

    Carol Ann Duffy then uses the word “assonance” as a metaphor for physical contact as she compares her body to his. She seems to aspire to be the perfect partner as she thinks of him writing about her in his plays,

    “…I dreamed he’d written…beneath his writer’s hands…”

    In line 10 Duffy describes how all her senses are used in loving him, this is very powerful and romantic “…by touch, by scent, by taste…” the prominent drama really begins to show. An example of this is when Duffy compares the guest’s bed in which some one is “…dribbling their prose…”

    Where as in Shakespeare’s bed there is this deep and wonderful passion

    “…living, laughing love-…” she seems to feel that although she is not in the “best bed” she is in fact by far the superior because of the passion she shares in the “second best bed”. Also the alliteration here emphasises the strong love theme.

    The only rhyming couplet comes right in the last two lines of the poem and this stands out as not only is it the only rhyme but it brings in a totally different theme, that of death and it becomes clear that not only was there a strong passion whilst he was with her but even now a bond is held. This is in direct contrast with the picture painted of a very happy and enjoyable part of Anne Hathaway’s life but the poem comes across to the reader almost as a memorial not so much in sorrow but in celebration of the good times.

    William Shakespeare however uses a very different and almost surprising approach to his love for his wife. This is clear in his choice of first words

    “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…”

    This is clearly not a compliment as such and most definitely is no comparison to the romantic words Duffy uses in her opening lines. In the lines that follow there is a discreet connection to “Anne Hathaway” where Shakespeare has also described the lips, her breasts, her hair and her cheeks. Duffy does this too but is a far more complimentary and romantic manner. It comes across that the poem is almost a degrading one; however the approach he is taken is one more of realism than the maybe exaggerated view of love in Duffy’s “Anne Hathaway”. As this would have been far too common in his time and he probably did many of his own highly romantic poems.

    There is however another suggestion of a more subtle compliment in that maybe his mistress has a natural beauty as she is compared to sun, choral, roses and snow. Each line describes a feature in a rather unflattering way but as the poem goes on we see why this is being done,

    “…I think my love as rare

    As any she belied with false compare.”

    Shakespeare feels that his love is very deep and very true but making clich� comparisons would degrade his mistress. This is a more subtle approach to showing the same love shown in “Anne Hathaway”. It is not entirely unromantic “…I love to hear her speak…” and the very idea that he has taken a different way of complimenting her so that she would remember it and be special is something romantic in itself.

    Both Carol Ann Duffy and Shakespeare show a great love for their partners it is clear that there are ways of expressing the same feeling in different ways. There are similarities in the description of the body and nature is prominent in both. But surprisingly Shakespeare is the one who uses the realistic, more true to life conception of love. Duffy adapts Shakespeare’s usual techniques and converts them into a poem from Anne Hathaway’s point of view. The language and drama are similar to that of Shakespeare’s plays. The language and comparisons made by Shakespeare may not seem all together loving but he is forgetting the conventional ideas of romancing through a poem and putting exactly what he sees and proclaiming that Anne Hathaway may not be perfect but he loves her for who she is and she is worth more than the dramatic exaggerations like Duffy used.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    A love sonnet by Carol Ann Duffy. (2017, Oct 24). Retrieved from

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