Comparison Essay: The Passionate Shepherd, Song, My Papa's Waltz
Love and Hate: Does True Love Conquer All?
In recent discussions of love and hate, a controversial issue has been presented: can true love conquer all adversity? On one hand, some argue that love has its limitation. From this perspective, many will claim that familial love cannot conquer a violent home with a violent father. On the other hand, however, others argue that love can conquer any obstacle that appears in a relationship, whether material or natural. In the words of one of this view’s main proponents, “Come live with me and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove that valleys, groves, hills, and fields, woods, or steepy mountain yields (Marlowe 777).” According to this view, love is enough to move mountains. In sum, this issue is whether love can conquer all adversity or if love has its limitations that cannot be overcome.
My own view is that no matter what type of love, romantic or familial, love can conquer anything. Though I concede that there will always be struggles in the way of loving another person, I still maintain that in the end love will overcome. Although some may object that my views are too idealistic, I reply that love in and of itself is extremely idealistic. What force, when all is said and done, is stronger than love?
In the "Passionate Shepherd", the speaker offers his lover a multitude of delights to persuade her love in his favor. At the very beginning of the poem he states his intention that "we will all the pleasures prove (Marlowe 777)" creating a basis upon which all his promises are centered. The speaker furnishes his love through the use of natural objects such as clothes and accessories. He describes "A gown made of the finest wool, which from our pretty lambs we pull (Marlowe 777)” and "Fair lines slippers for the cold, with buckles of the purest gold (Marlowe 777)" to influence his love's decision. His gifts continue with "A belt of straw and ivy buds, with coral clasps and amber studs (Marlowe 777)" to soften her heart in his favor. Through these generous offerings the speaker hopes to attract his love with objects but in the process fails to offer himself.
“The Passionate Shepherd” offers an example of romantic love using the natural setting of the poem as the framework for this idealistic lifestyle. The speaker’s gift offerings reveal his superficial attitude towards women, expressing his belief that they can be manipulated with gifts and promises. This also shows a sign of his possible sexual intentions because he is possibly trying to obscure his love long enough to take control of her. This idea is reinforced in the line "I will make thee a bed of roses (Marlowe 777)” which contains underlying sexual connotations. These intentions are masked in the speaker's persuasive nature as he seduces his love with romantic images of "Melodious birds singing madrigals (Marlowe 777)." It can also be observed that all the gifts which represent the speaker's love are all fabricated from nature, such as "A cap of flowers, and a kirtle, embroidered all with leaves of myrtle (Marlowe 777)." Due to the fact that all substances of nature eventually die, this could imply that as the gifts will die so will his love for her.
“Song” by C. Day Lewis is a more practical and honest view of a love offering. The dream-like qualities of “The Passionate Shepard” are replaced with more realistic expectations. When the author speaks of an "evening by the sour canals, we'll hope to hear some madrigals (Lewis 779)" he knows that because of the pollution they will more likely hear the songs of seagulls, boats, horns, and obscenities.
Although both poems express romantic love, the speaker in "Song" does not try to impress his love with grandeur like the Shepherd. He does not proclaim the gifts he can give her but emphasizes that his love is displayed through the hardships he endures. The speaker in this poem simply offers...
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