In “The Death of Marilyn Monroe” Edwin Morgan explores the inevitable destruction of a personality that occurs when someone becomes immensely famous but is without any emotional support or comfort, especially when someone has had a difficult or emotionally unhealthy upbringing, This poem is particularly relevant in out celebrity obsessed country because it clearly shows the damage fame can have on a particular person. He achieves this with use of a series of powerful images and a clever use of a range of poetic techniques.
The poem begins with a barrage of question meant to represent the public’s reaction to the horrific news of Monroe’s death. This has the effect of showing us that the writer will be exploring the themes of responsibility and innocence.
“What innocence? Whose guilt? What eyes? Whose breast?”
Each question has a rapidly changes the subject which makes this sound confused, impatient and demanding. Also the use of short questions is to give the poem a quick tempo, enhancing the feeling of impatience. This is an extremely effective opening line as it straight away sets the theme of the poem. The questions here are rhetorical making you think about them. This makes us think about them and also ponder on how Morgan intends to answer them.
The next two lines contrast in speed and start to bring in a feeling of compassion towards Monroe.
“Crumpled Orphan, Nembutal bed
white hearse, Los Angles”
The poem slowed its pace making these statements jump out at us and making you think about what they mean. The metaphor ‘Crumpled orphan’ creates an image of her childlike innocence while also the image of an emotionally broken and confused child. The cleaver word choice of ‘crumpled’ makes you think that she was not strong and easily broken. These two cleverly used techniques give us a sad and upset feeling. The strange word choice in ‘nembutal bed’ makes us think about Monroe’s trouble to sleep. Morgan here is speaking about Monroe’s inability to...