Carol Ann Duffy: Poems

Representations of Betrayal in 'Adultery' and ‘Disgrace’ 11th Grade

Duffy’s poems, Adultery and Disgrace, portray the theme of betrayal in a number of different ways. Both show that betrayal is destructive and deadly to relationships, however, different diverse, including sibilance and oxymorons, are used across the two poems to portray this. It is possible to infer that the two poems are linked as Adultery depicts betrayal in the present tense whereas Disgrace shows the aftermath of betrayal in a relationship.

In both poems, betrayal is shown to be destructive and deadly towards relationships, however, different devices are used to describe these effects. In Adultery, one of the speakers describes their night as a ‘lethal, thrilling night’ which, at face value, conveys the excitement and thrill of the night. However, the use of the word ‘lethal’ makes this statement an oxymoron, drawing attention to the word and making the reader stop to contemplate the line. This may be a method of showing the reader that the thrill of the night will inevitably lead to tragedy. Additionally, the choice of the word lethal also adds a sense of dramatic tension as lethal implies that this betrayal will be deadly to the relationship, not just damaging. On the other hand, Disgrace uses the simile ‘your clothes...

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