Carol Ann Duffy: Poems

Feminist Criticism and "Mrs Midas" 12th Grade

‘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 being able to feel the touch of her husband -- calling attention to the anguish, annoyance, and disgust she harbors for him regarding his greediness. This poem is especially interesting for feminist critics, as it is possible that Midas is a strong willed person who does not let her spouse ruin her life, as she runs away and lives without him. However, there is another reading, which states that her husband controls her emotions and that all she longs for is a loving, rather traditional husband.

Right from the beginning, the voice prioritized by Duffy is that of Mrs Midas, who retells the expected story from her point of view. This tactic would interest feminist critics, as in literature women are sometimes voiceless or only heard behind the men closest to them; however, it is clear that Mrs Midas has control and is telling her story with a degree of autonomy. Through her humor and metaphors, we are able to understand the breakdown of her marriage as well as the idea...

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