• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Many of the writers in this anthology use poetry to examine the idea of the brevity of human life, but they treat this idea in very different ways.(TM)

Extracts from this document...


'Many of the writers in this anthology use poetry to examine the idea of the brevity of human life, but they treat this idea in very different ways.' The brevity of life is a theme often explored, not only through poetry, but in day to day life. For many years people have been engaging with the idea that life is simply too short to waste, that "each man's life is but a breath" and in fact pales in comparison to the wonder of nature. A fine example of a poem which considers the succinctness of life is Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress. This poem straight away engages with the theme; time, and examines the brevity of human life with an argument to 'seize the day'. The poem is written to his lover in an attempt to show her that life is too short to waste and to convince her to give up her 'long preserved virginity'. The poem is divided into three verses: in the first verse, the poet uses hyperbole to enact the proposition that literary lovers should waste time conversing and in admiring each other in exotic surroundings; 'Thou by the Indian Ganges' side shouldst rubies ...read more.


This stanza introduces the first real example of passion; 'And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires', with his speech becoming much more positive and the 'threats' of the second stanza seem to disappear, further adding to this urgent, almost frenzied, attitude; desperately trying to convince his lover that if they unite they can 'break through' the gates of time; devouring time rather than let it devour them. The poem is written in rhyming couplets throughout, which is a key feature of the poem as it further emphasises Marvell's urgency throughout the poem; trying to convince the woman he loves that, although they cannot make the sun 'stand still', they can indeed still 'make him run'. Despite Marvell's obvious disdain for the inevitable fact that time will eventually overcome them, he turns this around and instead uses the concept of time to praise and flatter her; 'A hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze, Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart.' ...read more.


The sonnet finishes with the rhyming couplet, desperately trying to convince him to make the most of his youth, and 'love that well which thou must leave ere long'. The Twa Corbies is a ballad concerning two crows which are about to eat a knight who has just been killed. The recurring theme throughout this poem is that, in life, social status means everything, in death, it means absolutely nothing, leaving you as nothing but food for crows. This idea presents the debate over the brevity of life, exploring the notion that, in comparison with nature, human life is insignificant, merely a brief sneeze of time. The crows are given direct speech from the outset, further reinforcing the image of nature overruling human existence, combined with the unchanging rhyme and rhythm. The insignificance of humans is emphasized by the corbies display of contempt when discussing 'him', but when referring to him as a meal, they hold him in high regard. Each poem shares the same message; life is far too short to waste worrying about trivial things, and instead should embrace life, take each day as it comes and cherish your youth, before it is taken from you. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Comparative Essays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Comparative Essays essays

  1. Compare and contrast the content and style of "To His Coy Mistress" and "The ...

    The first stanza has a fairly regular rhythm but is duller. The more regular, dynamic rhythm of the closing stanza gives us a sense of the poet's energetic state of mind. The last line is arresting in that it contains less syllables than those above it.

  2. Analyse the ways in which Tony Harrison presents the theme of family relationships in ...

    the bed suggests that the father will never be happy again as the son tells us that it has two 'wrong sides'; suggesting not only the 'saying' of a person being angry on account of them waking up at the wrong side of the bed, but also implying his anger

  1. Comparing the way love is represented in Andrew Marvell's 'To his coy mistress' and ...

    "Not a cute card or a kissogram." Marvell's 'To his coy mistress' was written in 1681, this might be why he is very seductive towards the woman. Nowadays, it could be seduction either way but I guess that back then the man was the one to seduce the woman, as women were 'inferior' back then.

  2. Compare how the theme of love is presented... 'To His Coy Mistress'.

    "I give you an onion" Duffy at all times throughout the poem tries to relate everything she believes in love to an onion. "A moon wrapped in brown paper" This quote is saying that love is a moon wrapped in brown paper, and to get to the moon (love inside

  1. Women are dismissed as insignificant in both the poetry of Larkin and Eliot. How ...

    If you looked at this poem as a representation of society rather than of women, Larkin is not mocking or ridiculing women, but rather that of the general public. Eliot also comments on the false nature and excesses of people, though not to the same extent as Larkin.

  2. The lives and works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Emily Dickinson may be different ...

    ?Emily?s father at the time of her birth was an ambitious young lawyer, and was educated at Amherst and Yale. He returned to his hometown and joined the ailing law practice of his father, Samuel Fowler Dickinson? (Wider). ?Edward joined his father in the family home, built by Samuel in 1813? (Wider).

  1. Daryush looks at the sweetness of life from a nave and young heiress in ...

    meaning leaves an ominous open-ended conclusion for the reader to speculate about the speaker?s accumulated life experiences with self-centered lovers. Hence, the disturbing connotations of the diction used results in ambiguity and speculation about the potential life experiences of the speakers in both poems.

  2. The three poems Enter without so much as knocking, Weapons training and Big Jim ...

    In the poem ?Big Jim, a picture is painted of a working class man who is proud of his origins and achievements. He appears gregarious and full of self-confidence and the simple joy of life. The main themes of ?Big Jim? are individualism and working class hero, which are shown clearly through a range of linguistic and imagery techniques.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work