To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

Topics: To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvell, Stanza Pages: 3 (1168 words) Published: June 15, 2005
In "To His Coy Mistress," Andrew Marvell presents a speaker who appeals to his love through persuasion. The speaker uses an appeal to reason as his main tool, but he also appeals to his mistress through emotion and character to garner a response. Each stanza utilizes a different method of appeal that relies on diction and punctuation. In the first stanza, the speaker appeals to character, in the second emotion, and in the third reason. By using different methods of appeal, the speaker hopes to win his mistress' love. From the title, one can see that the speaker is a man addressing a female. However, to understand the dramatic situation, one cannot examine the title alone but must scrutinize the entire poem. In the first stanza, the speaker professes his love for his mistress by saying he would love her from time's beginning to time's end (7-10). The speaker's "love should grow vaster than empires"(11-12) and he would adore her for thousands of years (13-18). In the second stanza, the speaker uses images associated with death, and in the third he offers a plan by which the two should live, knowing that one does not live forever. With this information, one identifies the dramatic situation as a man's attempt to woo a fickle lover into spending the rest of her life with him. Identifying the speaker and the situation is not enough to analyze a poem rhetorically, so one must look at the overall scheme in combination with an in-depth look. The overall scheme of this poem follows an appeal to reason, as proven by the first lines of each of the three stanzas. The poem begins with, "Had we but world enough and time," which sets up an argument in which the speaker proposes what he would do if time permitted. The argument continues in the second stanza with the first word, "But," which indicates a problem with the speaker's initial thoughts. The "But" begins a stanza in which the speaker introduces the universal truth that one does not live forever....
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