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what is  the analysis Of Anne Bradstreet's "The Prologue" ?

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mazmee | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 25, 2011 at 12:56 AM via web

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what is  the analysis Of Anne Bradstreet's "The Prologue" ?

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 25, 2011 at 2:08 AM (Answer #1)

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"The Prologue" is often considered Anne Bradstreet's personal statement about her role as a female poet in a male-dominated Puritan society, and even though the tone of the poem is at times light-hearted, Bradstreet is critical of those who restrict women's roles.

In the first four stanzas, Bradstreet essentially denigrates her ability as a poet.  She cannot, for example, discuss such things as "Wars, of Captains, and of Kings" because "My foolish, broken, blemish'd Muse" is not up to that task.  She sadly notes that even though she reads the poetry of Du Bartas she doesn't have the skills to write like Du Bartas and wishes that the Muse of Poetry had given her some bit of Du Bartas' skill.

Bradstreet's tone changes markedly in the fifth stanza when she complains that people disparage her attempts at poetry and tell her that she should be wielding a needle not a pen.  And, she notes, even if her poetry is good, she will be either be accused of plagiarism or of accidentally writing something worthwhile.

The sixth stanza discusses the views of classical Greek culture, which were much less harsh toward women than the people of Bradstreet's society, but even the Greeks failed to exalt the role of women in intellectual matters.

In the last stanza, Bradstreet acknowledges that it is a waste of time to battle men, who "have precedency and still excell" in an intellectual war, but she asks men to at least make a "small acknowledgement" that woman have intellectual abilities.

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