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Wordplay in On Monsieur's Departure

Wordplay Examples in On Monsieur's Departure:

On Monsieur's Departure

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"content..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Content” serves as a double entendre here. The word refers to both a contained object as well as a state of contentment. Also, the word creates a sharp contrast with the first line with its admittance of her “discontent.” The speaker hopes to move away the state of “discontent” that defines the poem’s emotional landscape.

"turned...."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

The word “turned” entertains several interpretations. On a fundamental level, the line describes a multiplication from one self to two selves. The verb “turn” allows for that multiplication to occur in various manners. First, “turn” may refer to a rotating movement, a turning away from the first self to embrace the second self. Second, “turn” may refer to transformation, a changing from one self into a new self. Finally, “to turn” is “to create,” suggesting that the speaker is building her second self through an act of volition. Taking a step back, the poem itself is an act of “turning”: Queen Elizabeth has “turned”—created—both the poem and the selves that appear in its lines.

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