How can you analyze the poem “to the ladies” in poetics?

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To the Ladies” is a poem written by the English poet Mary Chudleigh, who lived in the late seventeenth century.

In her poem, the poet describes life in a typical marriage in the seventeenth century. Once a couple is married, the woman loses all independence and is...

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To the Ladies” is a poem written by the English poet Mary Chudleigh, who lived in the late seventeenth century.

In her poem, the poet describes life in a typical marriage in the seventeenth century. Once a couple is married, the woman loses all independence and is to be seen as the property of her husband. It is quite telling that the poet even decided to start her poem with a line that states exactly that: “wife and servant are the same.” This clearly states the theme of the poem: the inequality between men and women in marriage or perhaps even in life itself.

The poet is almost desperate for married women to gain freedom and independence, but she has come to the painful realization that it is simply not possible to escape this unfair and unequal union between a man and woman, “which nothing, nothing can divide.” This sense of hopelessness is underlined through the repetition of the word “nothing” in this line.

The poet also uses analogies in order to bring her point across. For example, the line “Fierce as an Eastern prince he grows” indicates the negative changes within a man once he has become a husband to a woman. Suddenly, he becomes a cold, merciless ruler, like an “Eastern prince” who takes his wife for granted and does not need to try to woo her any longer.

However, despite her negative outlook on marriage during this poem, the poet ends with some guidance for her readers: “Value yourselves, and men despise, / You must be proud, if you’ll be wise.” Through these lines, she tries to encourage women to keep their heads held up high and to not lose their sense of identity, despite the challenges and social expectations that marriage brings. As the title indicates, the poet is dedicated “to the ladies”: it is a warning, but also guidance with regard to how to make the most of marriage and life.

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