The attitudes of one writer differs from the attitude of another writer, there are various reason for this but the main one would be the fact that each person has had a unique experience of life. The poets also use different attitudes and devices that enforce the attitudes to drive home the message that they are trying to convey.
The opening line of the poem ‘Havisham’, starts with the oxymoron “Beloved sweetheart Bastard”, which could suggest that the character is confused. It makes us think that she loves the character deep down , hence the words beloved sweetheart , yet hates the man for what he has done , hence the word bastard. She obviously dislikes the man who jilted her but as the poem develops we see that she hates all men as a result of an action of one man.
‘The Man He Killed’ doesn’t only shows the attitude of the character towards others but it could also be taken that it shows the attitude of the writer as well. The poem is about a soldier, is 20 lines long and not once does it mention a name of either the character or the victim that the character speaks about. This could portray that to the writer all soldiers or the people in the armed forced are like subjects to the writer and not individual people, this could be because they all almost live a life of equilibrium and follow orders like robots, they don’t think or feel for themselves not they act on their own thought, they simply follow commands. This could be why all the men and women in armed forces to the writer are ‘He’s’ or ‘She’s’. On the other hand the use of ‘He’ instead of a name could highlight that it’s not important who the person is, how he acts/feels is more important. The term ‘He’ could also be used to describe that this isn’t just one person that’s acting in this was in this situation but it’s just in the human nature to act like this, in this case, a name doesn’t hold any value, it can be YOU yourself for that matter.
Both of the poems share the fact that the attitude in the poems isn’t just the attitude of the characters, but also of the writers towards their individual subjects. However the two poems differentiate in regards of their subject. ‘Havisham’ talks about how her experience altered the way she felt towards men and ‘The Man He Killed’ shows us a reaction of a human in a position where he kills someone else as a part of him job. ‘Havisham’ is based on hate towards men and ‘The man he killed’ is more about guilt, reflection and regression.
Then, the poem ‘Hitcher’ opens up with “I’d been tired under the weather” which instantly shows that this man’s attitude towards his life is very dull and he considers his life boring, cyclic or repetitive, the tone sounds like he is fed up of the typical corporate life which he is experiencing.
On the other hand, the poem ‘The Laboratory’ has a structure which seems very organised and neat which could imply that the character is well organised and has layout their plans very carefully to ensure that her scheme works. Even though the structure seems very calm and collective the language used in the poem makes us visualise the character as a person who has lost their mind/ a person who is dangerously insane.
A first person narrative is used in both poems to give the reader and insight into the thoughts and the feelings of each character (each murderer) through-out the poem. Both poems indicate that the characters lived a very unhappy life and their attitude towards life was quite unsatisfied which could be one of the ideas, that the writers lead us to, to believe was the reason that justifies their act. The quote “I’d been tired under the weather” from ‘Hitcher’ is straightforward to suggest that the character is unhappy with his life however for ‘The Laboratory’ you have to read between the lines and conclude that the character hasn’t experienced a happy life; the quotes “He is with her and they know that I know… they believe my tears flow” and “…they laugh at me…” support the idea of the characters experiencing tragedies in their life. Hence the Browning and Armitage try to lead the readers into believing that because the characters experienced such tragic lives, they held negative attitudes for others who were better off. They both hold elements of jealousy.
In conclusion, different writers use different devices to show how a certain character would react towards others and on the way the writers either knowingly or unknowingly drop in a few opinions and their ‘attitude towards others’, of their own. Whereas sometimes some writers bluntly use poetry to describe how they feel towards others. I think out of the four poems above, my person favourite would be ‘The Man He Killed’ as it seems very simple yet loaded with so many different ideas and it’s open to interpretation whereas the other poems sort of lead a reader in one way or the other.