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Published: 17-10-2019

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Feminist Criticism and “Mrs Midas”

‘Mrs Midas’ is a revisionist version of the King Midas story told from the female perspective: traditionally, this ancient Greek myth was about a man who could turn everything to gold with a touch. This poem explores the sadness Mrs Midas feels in regards to not becoming able to feel the touch of her husband — calling consideration to the anguish, annoyance, and disgust she harbors for him concerning his greediness. This poem is specially fascinating for feminist critics, as it is possible that Midas is a sturdy willed individual who does not let her spouse ruin her life, as she runs away and lives with out him. Nevertheless, there is one more reading, which states that her husband controls her feelings and that all she longs for is a loving, rather standard husband.

Appropriate from the starting, the voice prioritized by Duffy is that of Mrs Midas, who retells the anticipated story from her point of view. This tactic would interest feminist critics, as in literature girls are at times voiceless or only heard behind the guys closest to them nonetheless, it is clear that Mrs Midas has manage and is telling her story with a degree of autonomy. Via her humor and metaphors, we are capable to realize the breakdown of her marriage as effectively as the thought that ‘wealth is not everything’ in a various way than the way in which the usual King Midas story conveys this idea. It may possibly be noticed that Mrs Midas is challenging society’s demand for ‘feminine behaviour,’ as Simone de Beauvoir would put it, as she ‘poured a glass of wine.’ This action shows lack of interest in the concept that ladies are not meant to be drinkers. The way the poem is introduced so casually — ‘It was late September. I’d just poured a glass of wine…’ — gives the poem an air of mystery. But when we realize that she is telling us of a difficult time in her life, the casualness appears like strength, as it can generally be assumed that a divorce or separation is usually a hard topic to talk about. Though terrified of her husband, she rapidly hides her cat, giving her an air of heroism as effectively as generating her seem funny: this humor enables the reader to understand that Mrs Midas is an intellectual woman.

Feminist critics could uncover Mrs Midas’ humor and relaxed character to reflect a common yet unfair remedy of females in history and literature: there are excellent personalities among ladies, but these personalities are seldom described in either historical reality or historical legend. This characteristic of Mrs Midas can be understood as Duffy trying to highlight this inequality. Mrs Midas was so in really like with her husband as soon as upon a time but now is terrified that a kiss would turn her lips into a ‘work of art.’ On the other hand, feminist critics could open up other meanings behind ‘Mrs Midas’ by interpreting Duffy’s use of gender roles as displaying how significantly hurt a woman can go by means of because of her husband, especially if she nonetheless desires him — suggesting how in our society a woman is often believed to be most pleased with a dominant man. We are very first introduced to Mr Midas when he is ‘snapping twig’: the snapping has a violent tone and possibly suggests that the partnership is very a patriarchal one. Despite the fact that the women could have a voice, it is nonetheless weaker than the men’s voice in this setup. Mrs Midas’ husband, who is greedy for money and is hurting her emotionally, still gets the stereotypical doting wife who ‘served up the meal’ and ‘poured with a shaking hand’ (as even when scared of him she nevertheless does every thing for him).

One more aspect of the poem that feminist critics would be extremely interested in would be the truth that Mrs Midas believes that her spouse has ‘lack of thought’ for her and is ‘pure[ly] selfish’ but dreams of ‘bearing his youngster.’ It could be proposed that Mrs Midas is a symbol of several ladies who are not treated kindly by their spouses but still wish to have a kids, as doing so is what society has made us think ‘happiness’ and a ‘good relationship’ involve. Duffy has created Mr Midas practically appear villainous by introducing Mrs Midas’ dream of possessing a kid. Wanting a kid is something a couple usually agrees upon in a respectful manner, and so when Mrs Midas explains that they had been ‘passionate then’ it can be believed that Mr Midas would have identified of this dream. However, he let his greed for funds come just before his lover’s want. But there is an additional side to this state of conflict: even though Mr Midas broke her dream, Mrs Midas still checks up on him even when she tries to kick him out.

It can be argued that ‘Mrs Midas’ is a feminist poem that is trying to highlight the inequality that ladies in literature, and in real life, face. Duffy creates a stereotypical wife who cooks and cleans, but subverts this personality by suggesting that Mrs Midas is a powerful-willed and intellectual woman. Using ‘Mrs Midas,’ Duffy calls focus to discrepancies that, ultimately, can be created to bow ahead of strength of character.
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