Words on "To His Coy Mistress"
Either you have sex with me or you die. This is a very strong
statement which, when said, has to get someone's attention; and that is exactly
what Andrew Marvell intends for the reader in this poem. He wants the undivided
attention of this mistress so that he can scare her and rush her into making a
decision the way he wants and in due time. Filled with time flavored symbolism,
this carpe diem poem, "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell, exemplifies the
seize the day theme.
The cyclical, life symbolizing river, the water flowing by like time, is
the first place Marvell places the characters. And even though they are very
far apart, time still flows by for them both. As the water flows, this concept
begins to hint at the shortness of time, for them to have sex, the source of new
life. He then proceeds to claim that he could love her ten years before the
flood, something already ancient, and up to the end of the world, using the
juxtapositioning of the two views of time enhance his argument and to convince
to accept his offer by telling her of his long-term commitment for her in the
short-term. This flood also symbolizes life in the fresh start of the new
covenant. Because time keeps going, with or without them, they must be active
participants and not just the static spectator. Otherwise, the fate Marvell
relates would become their reality.
Marvell's vegetable love is rather oxymoronic. Love is not normally
like the uncaring, thoughtless, and noncommunicating plant. And yet his love is
vegetable in that it is not adaptable. She is the water, food, and light for
his love; and as long as she is there, he will love her. She is evrerything
that supports his love, and if she is not there, his vegetable could not be
supported and would die. His idea of love seems to just be to say that he loves
her for the possibility that he can share carnal knowledge; however, this is why
he tries to convince her to seize the day. And because of this love he felt
they must take advantage of what time they have.
Next comes the threat of punishment if she happens to continue down her
dark path of stubborn unwillingness to engage with him. Suddenly the desert is
before them and beauty is gone forever. The life giving and...