To His Coy Mistress Compared to Other Love Poetry

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To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell is a love poem from the period of the renaissance. The poem appears in rhyming couplets which is different than the typical love poems, seen in sonnet form that we are used to from that time. The rhyming couplets are our first clue that this poem is not your typical love poem. Through his approach of theme, tone, and his use of language, Marvell criticizes the love poetry tradition as it existed in his time in order to argue that we must seize the moment and see the reality of time and love. Marvell contradicts the traditional love poetry theme; love is eternal and stable, by using a theme of carpe diem. Carpe diem means to seize the moment and live for the day. Marvell does not believe in waiting for love to blossom or believing that love will last forever as we see in Shakespeare’s sonnet 18, “Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade/ When in eternal lines to time though growest: /So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,/ so long lives this and this gives life to thee.” Meaning, nor will death claim you for his own because in my poem you will last forever, and if there be people on this earth, then my poem will live on, making you immortal. The reader’s see the opposite of this in Marvell’s poem as he believes that when you die “Thy beauty shall no more be found” By this he means that once his mistress dies her beauty will no longer be recognized so she must use her beauty to her advantage now. Unlike Shakespeare, Marvell does not view love as passionate, beautiful or emotional. Rather, his carpe diem theme suggests that love does not last forever, and beauty will fade. He continues to try to convince the reader that you must live for the day; “Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound/ My echoing song; then worms shall try/ That long preserv'd virginity,/ And your quaint honour turn to dust,/ And into ashes all my lust. /The grave's a fine and private place, /But none I think do there embrace” Through the use of...
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