Carol Ann Duffy – Midas and Aesop

Carol Ann Duffy – Midas and Aesop

Mrs. Aesop In Mrs Aesop, Duffy”s speaker does more than regret a loss; this time, her tone is resentful that the man she married has turned out to be an ???Asshole”. Mrs Aesop relies on the reader”s foreground knowledge that Aesop (a Greek slave) was a literary genius responsible for inventing the allegorical mode; this is the world’s preconceived view of him.

By contrast, his wife’s starting-point is that, no matter how entertaining and instructive Aesop”s fables are, the man himself is a bore – and, what”s more, boring (???Tedious”) because, if he isn”t busy researching his next tale, hen hens talking at her in the didactic language of the last one. The racy, vernacular rhythms of Duffy”s free verse – And that”s another thing, the sex was diabolical – are ideally suited to express both her rhetorical indignation at his pious lecturing and her deeper frustration at his inadequacies; to illustrate his sexual impotence, she concocts her own fable ???about a little cock that wouldn’t crow”.

What”s more, Mrs Aesop”s last sentence (???l laughed last, longest”) suggests – by the glee with which she urns her husband”s own proverbial wisdom against him – that her motto must be “Don’t get mad, get even”. Mrs. Midas In Mrs Midas, Duffy”s imagined speaker is the wife of Midas, King of Phrygia to whom Dionysus granted his hamartic wish that everything he touched should turn to gold. Duffy”s strategy is to chart the stages by which it dawns on Midas” wife first that her husband possesses this golden touch and second that it has potentially fatal consequences: ???lt was then that I started to scream. King Midas” fatal flaw is his asculine sense of priorities according to which material satisfaction appears more important than emotional/spiritual fulfilment; her dramatic realisation of his folly Mrs Midas records by her exercise of a grim wit at her husband”s expense. In the situation, she discovers that metaphorical expressions (???near petrified”/ ???when it comes to the crunch”/ ???heart of gold”) have recovered their literal meanings. The best of these verbal gags she saves for the final verse-paragraph: What gets me now is not the idiocy or greed but lack of thought for me.

Pure selfishness. The poem is a criticism of male selfishness: if it is ???pure selfishness”, then in the particular circumstances it is 24-carat selfishness. Mrs Midas, however, is not misanthropic; her tone is of regret that she has lost the man she loves and her final sentiment is a wistful longing to have him again: I miss most0even now, his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch. The ultimate irony is that Midas possessed a magic touch all along: namely, the physical touch which had the power to transform her into a loving wife. Carol Ann Duffy – Midas and Aesop By Armaan-Bhatia