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Analysis Of To His Coy Mistress By Andrew Marvell And Sonnet By Elizabeth B. Browning

5433 words - 22 pages

Analysis of To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell and Sonnet by Elizabeth B. Browning

This assignment will examine two poems that were written before 1914.
The two poems I will be focussing on are 'To His Coy Mistress' by
Andrew Marvell and 'Sonnet' by Elizabeth B. Browning. In the essay I
will be looking at how both poems emphasise love but yet have very
different approaches as in the coy mistress the persona is trapping
his mistress into falling in love with him and uses tactics to try and
have a sexual relationship with her. However in the sonnet the persona
has a stronger love for her lover as the poem is more spiritual and
her idea of love is on a higher level - she does not refer to the
physical but she simply likes the idea of loving. I will be discussing
how the period of time that the poets lived in is reflected in their
attitudes to life - the tradition affecting the way they think or
possibly makes them rebellious towards tradition and to run away with
themselves i.e. existentialist views.

'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell is an intriguing poem that
captures the stereotypical view of men's attitude to women. The
persona is obsessed with a young female who is evidently very
beautiful and seductive but seems unwilling to let herself show or act
upon her feelings for him. He has tried so hard to show her that he
has the attitude and love that will make her happy. The poet is
basically saying that the persona is in love with this 'coy mistress'
and he will try anything for her to fall in love with him. The poet
talks about there being not enough time to think about the proposal
but to take a risk and run with the feelings they have for one another
- and thus run away from tradition too. In the first section of the
poem, the persona is coaxing his mistress into a false sense of
security by using flattery to stun her into submission by telling her
that there isn't enough time in the world 'Had we but world enough,
and time' which would have made her think that she was special and
attractive. His attitude becomes more intimate as he tells her how he
could spend ages on each part of her body. 'An hundred years should go
to praise Thines eyes, and on thy forehead gaze'. This evidently would
have made his mistress have a different view of him as he is
complimenting her. The poet uses numbers in this section as a
distraction as he is taking her away from the popular theme of time
destroying beauty which is a very different slant to the Carpe Diem
theme. These type of poems often begin with a warning that beauty does
not last forever e.g. Robert Herrick's To the Virgins to make much of
time 'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying'.
Marvell however is using Time as a measure for her beauty. The effect
is to make his mistress relax. She is being flattered...

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