The Arch Deceiver and the seduction are two texts which share many similarities in the portrayal of relationships and seduction. The arch deceiver by Thomas Hardy is a pre-twentieth century fiction about an indecisive man called Tony who finds it difficult to turn certain women down when it comes to marriage. The seduction shows a teenage girl lost in lust and the consequences of her actions. Both texts themes relate to love but are shown from two different angles. The arch deceiver is more of a deception in reference to commitment while the seduction is a lust that is misinterpreted as love.
It is more of a humorous fiction than based on a true life story. The seduction is a harsh reality of events that occur on a daily basis. Teenage girls who would love to be in love are influenced by the media and experience peer pressure which often leads to sexual relations with men who abuse their vulnerability. The girl in the poem is shown as a victim of this. Deluded by her concept of love she falls into the arms of a self- centred typical teenage boy more than willing to gain all he can from her.
The Arch Deceiver and the Seduction both show men’s attitude towards the opposite sex. The Arch Deceiver reveals Tony to have had many past relations with various women who are all now seeking for commitment from him. He is not a dominant character but on the whole is just trying to please everyone with little success. Tony is not deliberately attempting to deceive these women (Unity, Milly, and Hannah) but happens to be the victim of circumstances. All three women are incredibly persuasive and he finds it intensively difficult to reject their requests.
In actual fact it is because he cares immensely for these women that he acts on impulse, not thinking about the result of his deeds. “Said Tony in a flutter”, “a dim sort of sweat rising up inside his clothes”. His is digging himself into a deeper pit with each action but does not seem to be looking to the future. His actions are trying to stop other women from becoming jealous. Each encounter provides doubt in his mind that he is marrying the right women for him. He is apparently not over attractive but this does not seem to stop the women from flocking.
He was quite the women’s favourite. ” This quote suggests that there was competition between the women he had relationships with. The boy in the poem Seduction however is of a completely different characteristic. He has planned his way into the unfortunate; misled girls’ heart with selfish intentions. “… as he brought her more drinks. ” It is his intention to get her drunk so he can take advantage of her. “He had danced with her all night. ” Slowly allowing her to fall for him he provides her with the attention she craves and uses for his benefit.
He takes profits from her misconceptions of love and does it willingly. He has no respect for the girl and uses her with no regrets only valuing what he can accomplish out of the situation. “… He muttered little slag. ” He doesn’t care for her at all, treats her in any way he pleases which she accepts graciously believing deeply that this is love. She falls for him based on his appearance “… she fell in love with his eyes as blue as iodine” “quite enchanted”, she appears to be hypnotised by this boy, besotted with him, a common teenage crush that goes too far.
The girl feels special as she gains attention from this boy. “He’d danced with her all night. ” He takes advantage of her nervousness, they had only met that night and in the darkness he kisses her, strokes her, makes her feel good and causes her to anticipate more pleasure, an emotion often mistaken for love. The women in the Arch Deceiver are like the boy in the poem. They all know what they want from the other character and have a devised a way to get it. The three females all want marriage; unfortunately their desirable partner is the same man.
They are in competition with one another and are willing to go to extreme lengths to make Tony their husband-to-be. With the exception of Milly, all the women invite themselves to have a ride with Tony which shows he is easily manipulated. They speak softly; use all the right words to convince Tony that he is making a terrible mistake by marrying Milly. In spite of the fact that Tony has proposed to Milly he is turned around with little effort required. He bases an ideal wife on outer beauty and rejects his father’s advice on who would make the best wife for him.
The main character in the poem is the girl. The poem is focused on her and the events that include her. She is desperately looking for love and believes she has found it in this guy. The main character in the arch deceiver is Tony. In some ways their characters correspond in the sense that they are both looking for love and neither of them has found it. Tony has had many past relationships “he was quite the women’s favourite” three of which are mentioned n the text but it is unclear whether the girl has ever experienced the attention she receives in the poem.
She is nervous and giggly “she stifled a giggle reminded of stories from teenage magazines” she appears to be inexperienced and her knowledge of love is based on what she has read. This suggests that this is her first time and not knowing what to expect she is led into an all too common trap. Also they are both pushed or persuaded by other characters. They are both of a recessive nature. The girl’s behaviour is due to the male influence in the poem. He has everything planned and she goes along with it. “… she followed him there” He provided the meeting place, the provisions (i. e. odka) and the entertainment (“the fingers that stroked her neck and thighs”).
She is taken in by all her current experiences and will follow without difficulty. Tony is also easily persuaded in the story. All the women he meets on his journey convince him to drive them to their destination. He does not reject them but simply obeys their desires. Unity entices Tony with her beauty using their childhood together as a method of persuasion. Tony has many doubts about his bride as he rides with Hannah, another beauty. While riding with her “he couldn’t for the life of him think why he had ever said a word about marriage to Milly or Unity.
In a short space of time Tony is convinced his bride should be, first Unity then Milly and now Hannah. He is unsure and confused about what he wants. The ending for Tony has a bright side to it as he does find his bride. Although he suffers many disappointments as do the women he eventually turns down, he does find what he was seeking for… a wife. The girl in the poem however is not as fortunate. Her ending is one of pain, misery and isolation. Her actions have caused an incredible sacrifice which now burdens her as she looks to the future.
Inside her is a living being, a human who is growing inside her who she helped to make. Half of her DNA, her child. This never occurred to her when she was meeting this boy near the lake, or “knocking back glasses of vodka like water. ” The fact that she could become pregnant was an overturned consequence but reality strikes. She feels morning sickness and is in immense despair as she comes to terms with life. Where is the father of the child? There is no reference to him, or his whereabouts. Like her previous innocence he has vanished from the picture.
She gathers that she has made a huge mistake and in her anger rips up the magazines that had influenced her undeveloped mind, planting pictures of an untrue love, an unfound dream, producing images of the love she hoped to find. And the white shoes that she worn with pleasure to meet her lover is flung at the wall, the heel breaking in the process. This is all done out of anger, anger aimed at herself for being mislead, anger at the boy for leaving her in this predicament, anger at the judgements of people around her. She is young, had her whole life ahead of her and now faces parenthood while still a child herself.
There is no sense of support for her. No comforting parent or sympathetic friend. She is isolated and secluded. The happiness she once felt has turned into despondency, anger and fright. “… she was sickened every morning. ” The baby living inside her is a constant reminder of her mistake. She can’t pretend it never happened or put it all behind her because the evidence is in front of her. The story is told in third narrative. The writer gives the reader an insight into this girls experiences, this is not just an ordinary poem. It has a focus and a moral.
There is a lesson to be learnt from the text and it is directed to teenage girls who can be easily misled and end up regretting their actions. The Arch Deceiver is also written in third person narrative, another person telling the story. The narrator does not make many judgements about the characters but simply retells the story. The text does not have a noticeable moral but it could be argued that it reveals that people make promises that are sincere at the time but are quickly changed. Also not to propose to someone until you are sure they are the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
The text does not include much imagery but is quite plain with few descriptions and metaphors. The people speaking reveal their characteristics by what they say and the manner in which they say it. The reader gets to know Tony by the conversations he has. The text is mainly speech. The story is told as if by word of mouth. An older person reminiscing about a certain occasion and telling it to an audience. This text had a few difficult words in it due to the era in which it was written making it difficult to follow and understand. E. g. anas, chide, tarpaulin, accost, nunnywatch and swound.
Although some words are no longer used, the language sets the scene for the story and automatically the reader notices the time in which it is written. The seduction includes a variety of symbolic language which all have reference to the poem and the point it is trying to get across. Although to the girl it seems as if she is having the time of her life the language used to describe her experiences depict something different. A lot of the descriptive words have reference to highly corrosive chemicals, implying pain. eyes as blue as iodine”, “kisses that tasted of nicotine”, “green as a septic wound”, “kiss scented by Listerine”.
Most of these examples enforce a picture of pain and hurt. Words such as septic and iodine suggest that everything isn’t as it seems. It adds effect to the message, making it seem real and that these actions can enforce pain. The writer plays with words in this sense to foretell the danger to come. The reader imagines the lust and the fun of the moment but also recognises the warning signs in the words. By reading between the lines in the first half of the poem, the second half does not come as such a surprise.
Community and society is also briefly mentioned in The Seduction. The girl does not appear to have any friends or family who are supporting her in her current dilemma, but is dealing with it alone. The only reference to outsiders are the neighbours who would accuse and assume that she is getting what she deserves. In the Arch Deceiver Tony is counselled by his father and immediately discards it. He unlike the girl has a family who cares and yet still fails to hear the guidance. Although he rejects his fathers’ opinion he ends up marrying the girl he recommended in the first place.
The ending in the seduction is not one of the joy and happiness as it began with but one of pain and heartfelt misery. It ends in desolation as the girl almost self destructs, willing her life to end because of the future ahead. She wants to “turn away, move away and fade away” frustrated with herself and anticipating the comments and thoughts of other people she no longer wants to be in this position. She is emotionally distressed and is seeking for the way out. She has had a traumatising experience which could change her view of life. Her trust in men could deteriorate as she feels betrayed, cheated and used.
Whether she finds the solution to her crisis is a mystery as the poem ends in anguish. She was seduced. Tony Kyte’s ending is more of a joyous celebration. After being abandoned by his first two sweet hearts he settles down with Milly and get hitched. Although his events left him nervous and sweating, he got what he desired. This text is not a check of reality but rather a humorous story of a deceitful man who ends up happy. In my opinion Tony should not have got any of the women but should have ended up miserable and alone. He was a subconscious deceiver.