Who's who in The World's Wife?

November 3

Who are the women in The World's Wife?

Women from history, from myths and stories, come to life as the layered and profound individuals that they are in the collection of poems The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy. In the opera The World's Wife, which is shown at What You See on Saturday, eighteen November, we'll hear the voices of ten of them. But who are they actually?

1. Little Red Cap
Who doesn't know Little Red Cap? In Carol Ann Duffy's poem she transforms from a sexually awakening young woman to a self-confident individual who takes matters into her own hands.

2. Pilate's Wife
Pontius Pilate was a Roman provincial governor in the 20s AD who had to make a judgement about Jesus. After a dream, his wife calls Jesus 'the righteous one'. She believes in his innocence, but he also fears her. In the end, the people vote for the death of Jesus. 

3. Mrs. Aesop
In Carol Ann Duffy's poem, Mr Aesop's wife has little appreciation for the endless stories and fables of her husband, a storyteller from ancient Greece.

4. Queen Herod
At Carol Ann Duffy, it is not King Herod who had all the baby boys murdered around time of the birth of Jesus. It is Queen Herod, who, after the birth of her daughter, is warned by three queens about the suffering that one of the young babies would do to her child. 

5. Salome 
Salome is held responsible in the Bible for the beheading of John the Baptist by asking for his head. In The World's Wife she takes action herself, not murderously, but almost carelessly, and not only with Johannes...

6. Mrs. Icarus
While Icarus flies higher and higher towards the sun with wax wings, his wife watches in disbelief about the stupidity of her husband.

7. Medusa
Medusa has been transformed by the jealous Athena into a Gorgon: a monstrous figure with writhing snakes where her long hair once was. Anyone who looks into her eyes turns into stone. In The World's Wife she reflects on her lost beauty.

8. Anne Hathaway
After his death, Shakespeare left his wife Anne Hathaway his second-best bed. In it she thinks about him, dreams of him and hears his words of wonder.

9.Mrs. Beast
All those women from fairy tales and stories who go through impossible odds just to hook a prince. Not Mrs. Beast! She goes for a Beast, for his care and for better sex.

10. Demeter
Demeter is the goddess of the earth. As she waits for her beloved daughter Persephone, who spends half the year in the underworld, her grief turns the ground cold and icy. With the arrival of Persephone, the warmth, spring, returns.

Who's who in The World's Wife?

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