Analysis Of Cousin Kate By Christina Rossetti

3635 words - 15 pages

Analysis of Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti

'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rossetti describes a cottage maiden who was
seduced and used by the lord of the estate for which she worked. She
was surprised and taken a back by the fact that someone so great and
powerful could be slightly interested in her, and so she automatically
fell in love with him. It wasn't until after he had slept with her
that he left her for her cousin, Kate. The cottage maiden was
devastated that he had done that to her. She felt unclean and
unwanted. The lord asked for Kate's hand in marriage and she accepted.
The cottage maid thought that he married Kate because she was innocent
and pure, 'Because you were so good and pure/He bound you with his
ring' - the cottage maiden is in complete contrast to her cousin. The
only good thing that came out of this was the cottage maiden had a
child, 'Yet I've a gift you have not got...' and 'my fair-haired son'.
The lord had seduced the cottage maiden and used her like a 'silken
knot'. This basically means that the lord used the cottage maiden as a
trophy and used her when he wanted to.

This is a poem based and written in the 19th century. There are three
main characters in the story. Cousin Kate, the cottage maiden and the
Lord. The title of this poem is self-explanatory. The poem is based on
a character called Cousin Kate. As she is the main character in the
poem, the whole poem revolves around her. The poem basically tells us
about 19th century life and people's attitudes towards unlawful
relationships. The poem tells us about a cottage maiden who had an
affair with a Lord. She loses her virginity to him, and then regrets
the whole ordeal. In the 19th century, if you were not known as pure
then fellow friends and family would reject you. It was seen to be
unclean and impure if you were to have sex before marriage. Men would
then look down on you in disgust, as would friends and family. The
poem demonstrates how a man can love a woman, then throw her away and
move onto another as he pleases, and because he was a Lord the cottage
maiden could not say a thing. This brings into light the difference
between higher and lower class people. If the cottage maiden had said
anything, people would not believe her and turn a blind eye to her and
to her accusations. According to the maiden, Kate's love was not
real. 'O cousin Kate my love was true, your love was writ in sand'.
This tells us that Kate's love was going to disappear and was only a
temporary emotion which was later just blown away like writing in the
sand, whilst the maiden's love was real. The maiden may just be saying
this for revenge against Cousin Kate to try and make herself feel
better but we do not know. The Lord's love towards the maiden was not
real, 'His plaything and his love'. 'Plaything' and 'love' are two
very different contrasts with each other. Did he really love her for a
while or was it all just a game to him? He used her...

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