Study Guide

The Prologue Summary

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The Prologue Summary

"The Prologue" mostly focuses on what the speaker thinks it means for a woman like her to write poems. She starts out by saying that she won't focus on the big subjects of history like kings, or war, or politics, since she's not up to the challenge. She promises to leave the big subjects to the pros (the men), since she feels like Nature didn't give her (a woman) the brains or the chops to make great art. Then she shifts gears a little, and starts to talk about the critics, who she imagines would rather see her sewing than writing. She points out (maybe just a little bitterly?) that, even if she writes great poems, the male critics will just say she stole them. She also reminds her reader that the ancient Greeks believed women could be poets. Finally, she tells her imagined critics, and the world, that there's no reason for men to feel threatened by female poets. She's not trying to be the best; she just wants her work to be acknowledged for its own worth. She's happy, she tells us, to play second fiddle to the guys, as long as they let her play.

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