Analyzes: “To His Coy Mistress”
By Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress,” represents a speaker that is trying to successfully convince a woman to be his “significant other.” To add meaning and power within the poem, Marvell uses key rhetorical strategies such as imagery, metaphors, and paradoxes, which are used throughout the poem in order to create the ideal “atmosphere” for the mistress whom the speaker is referring to and readers. Within the work, the speaker provides a sound argument for why his “coy mistress” must accept his love. Furthermore, as the speaker provides concrete details and explanations for why the mistress should agree to his proposal, the mistress has critical counter points to rebut the speaker’s accusations regarding his argument. In “To His Coy Mistress,” Marvell uses specific rhetorical strategies that strengthen the speaker’s argument towards the mistress, but counter-points can be made in opposition to the speaker’s reasoning.
The first rhetorical strategy the speaker employs is imagery. Throughout the entire poem, imagery is present, providing readers with powerful scenes. Line twenty-two the speaker states, “Time’s winged chariot hurrying near,” offering readers a vivid picture of an ancient and godlike chariot flying down towards the mistress and speaker (22). By referring the “winged chariot hurrying near,” the speaker specifies since death is approaching with growing speed, he is implying to the “coy mistress” that his love must be accepted before their untimely death. Also, the speaker depicts images of a timeless endless barren desert; “And yonder all before us lie, Deserts of vast eternity,” obliterating the image of the beautiful river the speaker stated in the first stanza with an image of never-ending desert (23-24). The speaker’s use of the powerful imagery is excellent, because the image of an endless barren desert is present to almost everyone, as well as the psychological effect an endless...
Cited: Perrine, Laurence, Thomas R. Arg, and Greg Johnson. “His Coy Mistress,” by Marvell, Anderson. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sounds, and Sense. Tenth ed. Boston: Heinle & Heinle/Thomson Learning, 2002. Print.
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