the Devil’s gay?Posted: November 30, 2011
The thing I found most striking about “Mrs. Faust” in the manuscript actually turned out to be my mistake. I repeatedly misread “the Devil’s boy” for “the Devil’s gay” in the manuscript. I thought this would be a really funny twist to the story of Dr. Faustus, seeing as he was almost obsessed with the devil and then sold himself to the devil.
Aside from that, I was surprise to see so little on “Mrs. Faust” in the manuscripts because its one of the longer poems. I only found the last stanzas (11th-15th), and I saw that Duffy wrote the last portion of the poem over and over with a few edits here and there. Looking back at the poem, this seems to make sense because the end of the poem is the kicker, and Duffy would want to word it just right. I also found in another portion of the manuscripts, that Duffy scribbled, “Mrs. Faust – he had no soul,” before she began writing the poem. I thought it was interesting that Duffy actually started the poem with the end, which is the most ironic and clever line.
Duffy repeated most the 11th stanza, the part about Helen of Troy. I thought it was intriguing that Duffy wanted to perfect this stanza the most out of the rest because this reveals that Dr. Faust cheats on Mrs. Faust and where she is most wronged. Perhaps this further justifies Mrs. Faust’s lack of love for her husband and her apathy later when he is dragged to hell.
Furthermore, I noticed that the rest of the poem was written with few edits and adjustments, showing that perhaps the rest of the poem flowed easily to Duffy. I find this very impressive given the amount of vivid imagery portrayed through the diction in lines like, “I heard/ a serpents hiss,/ tasted evil/ knew its smell,/ as scaly devil hands.”
I wondered if Duffy added the other parts of the poem at the last minute. Although the end of the poem is the most interesting and sinister, the beginning and middle of the poem is essential too because it relates the story of Dr. Faustus to the everyday person in today’s society.