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Comparing Beggar Woman By William King And To His Coy Mistress By Andrew Marvell

1745 words - 7 pages

Comparing Beggar Woman by William King and To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

'Beggar Woman'(William King) and 'To His Coy Mistress'(Andrew Marvell)
are two poems written in the 17th century when society was very
different to how it is today: women had no status, rights, or
independence. All aspects of society were male dominated, they ruled,
and so all laws and acts were in the favour of males. The poems are
great examples of how society was when they were written, they also
mirror the roles each gender played in the various aspect of life, the
males active and controlling, the women passive, and they had to be
compliant.

At the beginning of this poem, there is a description of a gentleman
out hunting, which is an upper class activity, as they are the only
people who could afford to take part in such an expensive activity,
also by the fact he is described as a 'Gentleman' suggests he belongs
to the upper class or 'Gentry'. The 'Gentleman spots the 'Beggar
Woman' and she is described as 'game', because really to the man that
is all she (the Beggar Woman) is, due to her gender and social status.
When he wants the Beggar Woman's attention he addresses her as
'mistress' which shows respect, yet not so much as to call her a lady,
just enough to keep on the right side of her until he gets what he
wants, I think. The man then proceeds to issue commands to the lady,
due to his class and gender this, at this period in time was socially
accepted. The man thinks that the woman is going to give him what he
wants, sex; however, the situation he is left with the end is very
different to the outcome he hoped, and from his view, probably
considerably greater commitment than he had hoped for. Aside for the
obvious peculiarities of the situation, in a periodical sense too it
is uncommon as the woman has come away with the result she wanted,
rather than the man, who had all the rights.

When the man first exchanges with the woman he uses a 'speak when
you're spoken to'. Then when they walk into the woods the man stays on
the horse while the woman is made to walk by his side, still wearing
the baby. I do not believe it crosses the mind of the gentleman to
offer the woman some help with her burden, even though it is slowing
him from getting what he wants, he will wait, for principal: he must
not be seen to assist, or sympathise with the lower classes in anyway,
even when not in public. It probably also makes him feel big, and he
thinks, makes her feel as if he's in control, a show of supposed
power. Conversation which then follows is suggestive of the woman's
profession. "'Sitting' says she 's' not usual in my trade'" this, I
believe is a sort of innuendo 'Let's be honest, I'm usually on my
back'. The baby in the poem is described as a 'burthen' on her, aside
from the physical aspect, I believe because she has neither the income
nor the lifestyle to bring up the child in any kind of security.

The Beggar Woman...

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