Perhaps Duffy has called the poem ‘Havisham’ rather than Miss Havisham because Miss has connotations of femininity and youth. In stanza two she calls herself a “Spinster.” This suggests that she is lonely and unlikely to marry. Duffy uses a one word sentence to emphasise that her life stopped when she was left at the altar. This is highlighted by the caesura which demands the reader to pause and reflect on that word.
Duffy uses an oxymoron is the first stanza of the poem, “Beloved sweetheart bastard.” This reveals she has mixed feelings for her fiancé; she used to love him before he jilted her at the altar now she despises him and wants to take revenge on the male sex. Another oxymoron in the 3rd and 4th stanza is “Love’s Hate”. This suggests that not all love is happy and perfect; it can be cruel and heart-breaking just like Miss Havisham’s relationship was. Duffy uses alliteration on the harsh B sound to make it sound like the words were said aggressively and so when it is read aloud the reader is spitting out the words as if they too are angry. Another example of this is in the poem is “b-b-b-breaks.” This implies that Miss Havisham is stuttering because she is crying, this suggests that she is not just vengeful and vindictive but also heartbroken and lonely.
In the poem Miss Havisham is a very bitter, evil woman. In the first stanza she confesses “Not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead, prayed for it”. This expresses how bitter she is and her hunger for revenge on her fiancé, whom she wishes were dead. Miss Havisham, again in the first stanza, says she has “ropes on the back” of her hands, which she “could strangle with.” Once again this shows the resentment she has for her fiancé who jilted her at the altar. In the final stanza of the poem she states that she “stabbed at a wedding cake” and that she wants “a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.” This furthermore implies how angry she is at men in general and how bitter and twisted her mind is.
Miss Havisham, in the poem, says male instead of man because she detests all males and thinks that they’re all the same and that she is not angry with one man but all men. In the last stanza she wants “a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon” this reveals her view on life that is that she has no purpose anymore, she feels she might as well just stay in her yellowing wedding dress, rot away and die. It also suggests that she is bitter and vindictive and that because she loathes men so much she cannot bare to be with one who is alive.
Duffy shows Miss Havisham’s torment by saying