The different ways in which Shakespeare, Duffy and Clarke present relationships

October 5, 2017 September 1st, 2019 Free Essays Online for College Students

The poem Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy is an unusual love poem which ‘explodes’ romantic clich�s and replaces them with an onion. The poem I wanna be yours by John Cooper Clarke is light-hearted love poem about a man explaining what he will do for the woman in lots of silly ways. The poem Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare is a typical Shakespearean sonnet which explains all about the ‘conditions’ of true love.

Throughout the poem Valentine, Duffy uses an onion as an extended metaphor for true love. “I give you an onion” Duffy cleverly uses the onion in various different ways to explain her views about love and marriage. She manages to take the idea of cute romantic clich�s and turns them ‘upside down’ by replacing them with the unusual metaphor of an onion. Duffy doesn’t use these clich�s but tells it how it is “I am trying to be truthful”

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Duffy starts by comparing an onion to “a moon wrapped in brown paper”, because the brown paper suggests the brown, ugly outer skin of an onion, but underneath is the glowing moon which is the actual onion under its skin. This is just like love because on the outside, love can seem a bit ugly but as time goes by you slowly discover that love has a hidden beauty within.

In the second stanza Duffy talks about crying “it will blind you with tears” Duffy compares the onion to love because when you chop an onion it makes you cry and sometime love also makes you cry because love brings pain and sorrow into our lives. Duffy also says that “it will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief” suggesting that you are looking in a mirror and seeing yourself through tears because love has made you cry in some way.

Duffy has a very cynical view of love “Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips…for as long as we are” throughout the poem, Duffy seems to have very negative connotations about, not so much love, but marriage. Duffy talks about marriage as being “shrinking”, meaning it is a limiter on love and that by ‘formalising’ love (i.e. getting married) you ruin it. Duffy also starts and ends on a negative, “Not a red rose or satin heart” “Lethal. Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife” This again suggests that she has negative view toward the things she is writing about. It also gives the poem a very negative tone.

The poem I wanna be yours is written in a very unconventional manner. Firstly, it uses very simple or ungrammatically correct words like “wanna” and “deep de deep”. Also, none of the words in the poem are capitalised and there is no punctuation at all. All this suggests that this is a ‘rule breaking’ poem and does not want to follow the regular trends. It could also suggest that this isn’t a very serious poem but Clarke always ends each stanza with the same line “i wanna be yours”.

Nearly all the items that Clarke describes in the poem are regular, household items. “let me be your vacuum cleaner” Clarke compares himself to these items because they are all reliable things that you can always know will be there when you need them – just like a good partner. Clarke also repeats the line “let me be your” for every comparison because it really emphasises the fact the he wants to be hers. Furthermore, the fact that he says “let me be” as opposed to “I will be” shows that he is giving the woman a choice and is not forcing her into anything.

Clark uses a very structured rhyme scheme throughout the poem. “dust…rust” “meter…heater” The way Clarke uses rhyming couplets for almost the whole poem gives the poem a very light-hearted mood which again makes the poem seem not very sincere and as though the author is just having a joke. This seems backed up by the line “i don’t care” which could mean that the author doesn’t really mean what he’s saying or it could mean that he doesn’t care about anything else except for the woman and will do anything for her.

In the first quatrain of Sonnet 116, Shakespeare defines love “love is not love which alters when it alteration finds” Shakespeare is trying to say that love isn’t true love if it changes when people change or when others try to destroy it. Furthermore he says in the first line that there can be no obstacle to true love. Shakespeare also repeats key words in the same sentence such as “alters” and “remove” to emphasise the point he is making.

In the second quatrain, Shakespeare explains how love cannot be changed “it is an ever fixed mark” meaning that it cannot be moved. Moreover he says that “it looks on tempests and is never shaken” which means that true love can watch bad storms but will never be shaken by them. Shakespeare also uses a subtle metaphor of a ship throughout the quatrain, using word like “tempests” (storms at sea), “wandering bark” (wandering ship) and “ever-fixed mark” (on a map). This could be an allegory that we are sailing on the ‘sea of life’ on the ‘boat of relationship’ and that we are guided by the ‘star of love’; sometimes there will be storms but if we continue to follow the star, we will come out unscathed.

In the third quatrain, Shakespeare talks about how time cannot affect love. “Love’s not Time’s fool” meaning that love cannot be ‘ordered about’ by Time so it stays strong forever. Shakespeare has personified time to become Time and love the become Love as if they were real people and Time was the king and Love was just a jester. Shakespeare also says that love bears out even to “the edge of doom”. This means that true love will last forever, even until both partners are dead and gone.

In the final couplet Shakespeare tries to prove that he is right. “If this be error…I never writ, not no man ever loved”. What Shakespeare is trying to say is that if he is wrong, then he has never written anything and no man has ever loved. Shakespeare is so certain that what he is writing is true that he is effectively putting his whole career on the line to prove it.

In conclusion I think that Sonnet 116 portrays relationships the best because it shows what true love really is and what you have to do to achieve it; there will be ‘storms’ at times but if your love is true then they will not affect you. Valentine is also quite good but it mainly concentrates on the negative aspects of loves and any positives it does mention are written in a very cynical way. I wanna be yours doesn’t really concentrate much on relationships so much as what a man will do for a woman to make her happy; it is a very positive poem but it just seems a bit too childish.


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