To His Coy Mistress

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Since the beginning of time, love has been a concept that always fascinated those who were blessed with a literary talent. Love was also inter-tangled with religion, and it took many years to break free of that association. In a predominately male society, women were represented in literature by the only female role models at this time; Mary or Eve. The Mary was an unrealistic role model because she symbolized motherhood and purity. Eve was an evil interpretation of women, as she damned humanity by tempting Adam to eat the apple. Eve is seen as the reason that human’s mortality. This mortality caused fear amongst the citizens of the early sixteenth century, and authors sought to immortalize their love in poetry. These poets could not truly write about love after the end of the medieval age because of their fear of death and religious ideologies. Poets used literary techniques such as hyperbole to exaggerate their love, making it nonsensical and artificial. One poet of the early modern era parodies the traditional love poems ideals and gives the audience a more modern view. In the poem, “To His Coy Mistress,” Andrew Marvell transforms images of time into a symbol of humanity to challenge traditional love poetry as it existed in this age.

Marvell utilizes temporal imagery to protest the ideal love that poets of this age insisted on, as a means to argue that we are limited by our humanity. The speaker starts off by telling his lover that if there was enough time and enough space: “world enough, and time” (l. 1), then they would be able to lavishly spend their time. Marvell’s detailed descriptions that love has the ability to transgress the boundaries of time and space takes aim at the over utilized clichés and hyperboles that the average contains. When faced with the issue of death, Marvell gives a modern view on how to spend the limited time humans are given on earth. Marvell discusses that if the speaker had enough time, he would complement his lover and admire...
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