Tone and Metaphors in a Litany in Time of Plague

Topics: Andrew Marvell, Metaphysical poets, John Donne Pages: 2 (610 words) Published: October 18, 2012
Andrew Marvell (31 March 1621 – 16 August 1678) was an English metaphysical poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678. As a metaphysical poet, he is associated with John Donne and George Herbert. He was a colleague and friend of John Milton. His poems include To His Coy Mistress, The Garden, An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland, The Mower's Song and the country house poem Upon Appleton House. Andrew marvell’s body and soul:

Throughout the Renaissance era literature was often concerned with the human soul. Authors believed that the spiritual held far more significance that the physical. Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body’ confronts the differences and conflict between the human soul and physical body. Typical of Marvell’s style of metaphysical conceit the poem uses complex metaphorical imagery in order to bring the body and the soul to life. The poem consists of four stanzas which alternately focus on the soul, then the body comparing the two. The opening stanza describes the soul’s residence within the body using a comprehensive series of metaphorical images as Marvell presents the soul as ‘enslaved’(l.2) within the body. Listening various parts attributed to the body Marvell conveys how the soul is confined within its ‘dungeon’(l.1); ‘with bolts of bones, that fettered stands/In feet, and manacled in hands’(l.3-4). A particularly evocative image is presented in the description of the ‘nerves, and arteries and veins’(l.8) of the body as the ‘chains’(l.7) by which the soul is constrained. Conversely Marvell uses images of possession to convey the soul’s relationship with the physical body, describing the spiritual of the two as a ‘tyrannic soul’(l.12). Marvell questions the conventional idea that the soul is the substance which brings to life the otherwise dormant body. The voice of the body in the poem exclaims that it does not require the soul which inhabits it, describing...
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