How Far Does the Poet Want Us to Sympathize with Miss Havisham? The poet wants us to sympathized Miss Havisham greatly, but not entirely. Her own trappings of her strong need to revenge and her morbid existence that has destroyed her carries a symbolic meaning of self – absorption and destruction. This poem introduces us to Miss Harvisham’s character, who has become a type of embittered woman who was disappointed in love and enjoys withdrawing from the world. First of all, this poem is written in a first person’s point of view.
She begins by telling the reader the cause of her pain and suffering – her “beloved sweetheart bastard” which gravitates into a sense of bitterness and vengeance/retribution. In addition to that, the use of oxymoron in the above-said phrase indicates a contradiction of words. The words “beloved” and “sweetheart” indicates a very admirable personality, but the word “bastard” gives us a completely conflicting quality. Besides, she tells us that she not only wished him to be dead, but instead she prayed for his death, evidently by “Not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead.
Prayed for it…” She prayed so hard that she had “dark green pebbles for eyes and ropes on the back of my hands she could strangle with.” She uses metaphors here to explain to us that while she prayed, she had her eyes shrunk hard and felt that her hands were strong enough to strangle someone, which fits her murderous personality. It makes us feel piteous for her as seeing that she has suffered a great amount until it has reached insanity, but at the same time it makes us feel really disturbed by her mad identity. The second stanza symbolises her “self-absorption” and “self-pity” behaviours. She started off with a strong word: “Spinster”.
The use of caesura in beginning of this stanza shows how much she emphasizes and detests this word. Besides, the feeling of abhorrence has been further strengthen by the use of trochee can be seen in the word “Spinster” as the first syllable is stressed. Moving on, Miss Havisham is also aware of her own stink as she does not ever change her clothes. This show how withdraw she is from the world. Moreover, she stays in bed all day and “caws” in denial, which shows how she was on the verge of irrationality and stupidity.
In the end of this stanza, she ended with “who did this”. She knows very well that she was a big cause to this problem, but I feel that she also wanted to put the blame on the ex-fiancé as she only completed her question in the next stanza. This stanza makes us feel really sorry for her seeing that she cannot get over her past as it keeps haunting her. In the third stanza, she started to dream about her lost lover in a tenderly manner. “Some nights better, the lost body over me…” suggests that she misses her lost lover enormously.
She fantasizes about herself enjoying her time with her ex-lover, but it did not last long as when she finally regain her conscience, her hatred and ager returns, evidently by “then down till I suddenly bite awake.” This stanza truly reaches out to me because I can feel that deep inside she tries to recover the wonderful memories they may have had together but she eventually decides to ignore it as she still had that tinge of anger inside her that she cannot let go.
The last stanza is mainly talking about how her rage and abhorrence restores. It is somewhat similar to the first stanza, but she seems more furious in the last stanza. Thinking of how she actually “stabbed a wedding cake” shows us that she is plotting a huge revenge on a “male corpse” which we all postulate that it is her lover.
This stanza makes me feel a little frightened by her as her attitude is rather alarming. Overall, I really do sympathized Miss Havisham deeply, but I do criticise some of her actions. For instance, I do not like the fact that she wants to inflict pain on others just because it is for her own sake. By praying for someone to die and planning a revenge on someone is not the right way to solve a problem.
However, I do greatly pity her because of the phase she is going through. It is not easy getting over someone. In conclusion, the poet wants us all to sympathize her greatly, but only to a certain extent. We commiserate her for her peculiarity and her self-indulgence, but her sullenness and vindictiveness make us feel that she is a very vivacious and debauched person.
Courtney from Study Moose
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