Duffy has been known for her work on feminism and creating a new definition to it. This essay takes a closer look into the poetic techniques used to portray such themes in Thetis and Medusa from The World’s Wife.
Female characters become the main focus in Duffy’s reworking of Greek myths. In Greek mythology, male characters and masculinity play an important role throughout. They mainly suggest the female experience in a masculine and male-driven world. The change in the focal point and perspective to female characters attempts to overthrow the traditional masculine definition and representation of femininity. Duffy’s rework highlights the search for a new female identity outside masculine definition and creates a huge contrast to the traditional idea on female subjectivity and stereotypes. The shift of emphasis onto women empowers women and provides them with ability to take control of their circumstances.
A few themes that are shown in these poems include feminism and social standards of women, self-strengthening and transformation. Defying social standards on women is a common theme that can be easily identified in Duffy’s work. Modern standards of achieving the ideal body figure can also be seen in addition to the traditional idea of women being submissive and obedient to men. Emphasis is placed on feminist ideas of defying such suppression and rejecting such social ideas on women. In Thetis, suppression and degradation are shown through the use of metaphors. “I shrank