Choose a poem which uses the dramatic monologue form in an effective manner. Examine the techniques used by the poet to bring the speaker to life in realistic way.
“Education for Leisure” by Carol Ann Duffy is a disturbing and skilfully written poem. The poem is set in 1980’s Britain. Carol Ann Duffy adopts the persona of a sociopathic, later psychopathic, young man who has been attacked and emotionally killed by the education system, later going on to kill someone. The poet has written this poem as a dramatic monologue where she criticizes the lack of opportunity for youths.
By bringing the speaker to life in a terrifying and realistic way, Carol Ann Duffy writes the poem as a dramatic monologue where she does it in a very effective manner. One way in which the poet brings the speaker to life is through “A sort of grey stirring in the street”. Here the poet uses simple words and alliteration to suggest that the persona is not well educated as the vocabulary used is illiterate and inarticulate which emphasizes that education was not his strong point. As a consequence, the education system failed him with no guidance and qualifications to help himself in the outside world. Instead of a well-paid job, “it” prepared him for a life claiming benefits. In addition, the poet uses “I squash a fly against the window with my thumb” to make the reader hopefully realise the literary allusion, in reference to Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’gods. They kill us from their sport.” This symbolizes, in words, the persona’s desire to be god. This indicates that he studied Shakespeare before the system “kicked” him out. This is a major flaw and should never have happened as the persona didn’t understand Shakespeare’s text which wasn’t his fault. This hypothesis is backed up by “It was in another language”. This is used to re-emphasize the fact that he did not grasp the play in which the persona was punished for no reason. Thus highlighting the education system as corrupt.
Another way Carol Ann Duffy brings the persona to life is have the central character say “I have had enough of being ignored”. This suggests a motive for murder as he has a deep desire of no longer being ignored by society but instead to have god-like qualities. He currently feels powerless at the moment and wishes to have power of over who lives and who dies. “Had enough” suggests that the persona is obviously bored and frustrated and now wishes to take his anger out on innocent people. This introduces the theme of jealousy as the victim would probably have had a better quality of life than him. Furthermore, the poet uses “Today I am going to change the world” to emphasize that he is eager to have some control over his own destiny. This also suggests that he also is keen to have a massive impact on someone else’s life in revenge for his life now tarnished. Duffy uses “I could be anything at all, with half a chance” to further...