Form and structure

This poem is written in the form of a dramatic monologue from a female perspective, similar to the other poems in The World’s Wife collection, in which well-known male characters from myths or history are presented from the viewpoint of the forgotten or disregarded women in their lives.

Duffy focuses on an aspect of this well-known character King Midas and presents an imaginary response from his wife’s viewpoint, providing fresh, thought-provoking and comical insight into their lives.

Mrs Midas is made up of eleven stanzas of irregular line length, ranging from six to ten lines to reflect how unpredictable and chaotic life has become for this couple in that at any second, with a simple touch, Mrs Midas could be turned to gold.

Stanzas one to six deal with the discovery of King Midas’ granted wish, and the sheer panic at the realisation and of the tremendous power he has been given. At the same time, a comic tone is maintained throughout, as Mrs Midas even catalogues everyday items being turned to gold.

The remainder of the poem reveals the harsh heartfelt implications of Midas’ gift, highlighting the damage it has done to the couple’s relationship and their future together. The final line in the poem sums up Mrs Midas’ regret at the loss of physical contact with her isolated husband.