Stanzas four to six

In stanza four, Mrs Midas attempts to instil a sense of normality by her matter-of-fact tone in serving up dinner: For starters, corn on the cob.

This comedic effect is maintained as Midas ends up …spitting out the teeth of the rich. This line clearly demonstrates the negative effects of such a gift as Midas can no longer enjoy the simple pleasures of food, while emphasising that gold teeth are usually only seen in the mouths of the wealthy.

Along with the catalogue of food utensils that have also been turned to gold, Mrs Midas’ anxiety about what is happening is revealed in the way she pours wine with a shaking hand. Alliteration is used to highlight the seriousness and reality of the situation when she witnesses the transformation of a glass into a golden chalice.

She notes as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice, drank. The blend of the vowels with the letter ‘l’ links to the golden luxury of the item, while the harsh alliterative ‘g’ sound drives home the seriousness of this so-called gift.

The sinking in of reality is further echoed in the first line of stanza five when Mrs Midas starts to scream while her husband sinks to his knees.

As both come to terms with his new power, Mrs Midas finishes off the wine and forces her husband to sit on the other side of the room and keep his hands to himself.

Even after becoming aware of the consequences, this humorous line reveals that, while Midas still seeks to enjoy a physical relationship with his wife, his new gift means that he will be deprived of this pleasure.

The stanza ends with Mrs Midas relaying the precautions she takes to protect the cat by locking it in the cellar and then moving the phone, but allowing the toilet to be changed into gold.

Duffy then inserts a deliberate pause to imitate the speaker’s incredulity upon hearing how her husband has been granted a wish. The word ‘granted’ is a pun which is repeated to convey her opinion that, in general, people can and do make wishes but if they are going to be given, then of course her fool of a husband had to be the one to have his wish come true.

She is truly aggrieved by this and goes on to explain the futility of such a wish since gold feeds no one. In doing so she exposes the inherent lack of real value of gold.

Even so, humour is injected to contrast with this harsh fact as Mrs Midas considers, on a more positive note, how the situation will mean that at least Midas will …be able to give up smoking for good.