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To His Coy Mistress: An Interesting Use Of Carpe Diem

1064 words - 5 pages

Early 17th century Brittan was experiencing several different types of change, it was a time right after a civil war and time when boundaries of every aspect were being pushed. Amendment of literature was prominent, a common theme arose to which many scholars refer to as carpe diem or “seize the day”. It was a process of writing in which the author justifies the deed of taking action before time runs out or before it is too late. The following will survey a poem that embody the political, and religious convictions the rebellious people living in 17th century Brittan were experiencing. Marvell employs his carpe diem motif within a specific historical and religious context, and he draws upon ...view middle of the document...

The “winged chariot” has royal association as well as military and religions connections in Greek mythology which could scare the reader because war is so fresh on everyone’s mind. This is a significant line that makes the idea of seizing the day all more appealing to the woman he is attempting to woo. He is capitalizing on the threat that England could slip back into Civil War at any time, and thus supporting his claim in the poem that they should have sex immediately.
It is difficult to distinguish between if Marvell is referring to political position or religion in some of his illustrations, but one reference to the British Empire is obvious. “My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow” Marvell is using hyperbolic language to reject the more serious aspects of the political situation in Restoration England. In this point in time Britain has moved away from being a monarch and is attempting to establish itself as a powerful “empire”. This was an essential change taking place in 17th century life and was highly influential, the fact that Marvell is poking fun at this idea of becoming “vaster than empires” would surely catch the reader’s attention during that time period. This all comes back to the fact that all the narrator wants to do is to catch this woman’s attention and make sleeping with him more appealing by the use of astonishing claims such as that one.
Essentially there was no such thing as separation of church and state during this time period and when the topic of politics is utilized it only makes sense that religious references are prominent. “Thy beauty shall no more be found, Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song”, a marble vault is no place to keep something of such beauty. Perhaps Marvell is suggesting that we can't take things so seriously, that we can't treat the body as something religious...

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