Analysis Of The Forsaken Wife By Elizabeth Thomas

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Adultery: The Ultimate Form of Betrayal

“The Forsaken Wife” by Elizabeth Thomas and “Verses Written on her Death-bed at Bath to her Husband in London” by Mary Monck both portray wives dealing with their husbands’ suspected, or known, adultery.
Elizabeth Thomas’s utterly painful poem details a wife attempting to reconcile with the fact her husband has been unfaithful, the message of the poem being that although the husband doesn’t deserve the wife; she is going to “remain true”. The first stanza establishes the tone of sadness; it’s clear the speaker of the poem is hurt by her husband’s betrayal as she bitterly remarks “But what’s humanity to you?”. The wife also believes her husband to be a “cruel man” and although he’s the one that cheated, it’s the “broken heart, your broken vows” that has ruined the wife. As the poem continues, it progressively becomes bitter because of the wife’s responsibility “to be forever
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Perhaps the most important comparison between the poems, beside the theme, is the rhyme scheme or structure of the poems in couplets. Including couplets in each separate poem enforce the irony of the lines being in couples while the subjects of the poems are also in unhappy couples. The poems differ by the actions their speakers take when approaching betrayal. In “The Forsaken Wife,” the wife decides to “be true in spite of fate” while in “Verses Written on Her-Death Bed at Bath to her Husband in London,” the wife decides to “journey to the skies” and accept death because her husband didn’t love her well. Both poems are strong examples of adultery and different ways of coping with betrayal and while their messages may differ their powerful structure match. The similar tones resonate with the reader and the irony of a poem, normally associated with love, being written about betrayal forms a deep sense of sorrow within
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