Pope Joan -Duffy Essay

447 WordsApr 13, 20142 Pages
By focussing on “Pope Joan” show how Duffy questions patriarchal ideologies in The worlds wife. Throughout History males have been portrayed as the ‘better’ of the sexes with society stereotyping women as weaker, vulnerable and items of sexual pleasure. For instance in the Bible it is Eve who succumbs to the Devil consequently bringing evil upon the world, and in the classic fairy tail it is the cliché prince who must save the day because the heroine is too vulnerable. The title of Carol Ann Duffy’s anthology The Worlds Wife plays on the colloquial phrase “The world and his wife” which implies that is men who run the world and that woman are merely a separate accessory. Clearly this misogynistic attitude angered the feminist Duffy leading her to write poems from the perspective of women who she believes were not given a voice in history, myth, fairytales and popular culture. By doing so she constitutes bathos around male figures we once thought admirable and empowers women; consequently leading the reader to question patriarchal ideologies. The poem “Pope Joan” is in the first person narrative of the only female pope ;Pope Joan who supposedly reigned, under the title of John VIII, for slightly more than 25 months, from 855 to 858. In the poem “Pope Joan” Duffy not only questions the rituals of the Catholic Church but also questions patriarchal ideologies as she conjects that women have the advantage over men as they hold the key to life through child birth. Duffy uses High register language and lexicology from the religious semantic field in order to show the portentous nature of men. “I learned to transubstantiate, unleavened bread into the sacred host”. The religouse word "transubstantiate" originated in Tours , France in the 11th centuary and is consequently very high register and uncommon in everday language. This then implies that the Pope and other religiouse

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