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A detailed analysis of sexual persuasion with a close discussion of the methods used in texts of seduction.

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Introduction

Kate Parkin A detailed analysis of sexual persuasion with a close discussion of the methods used in texts of seduction. With reference to "To His Coy Mistress" Marvell (1646), Act 2 Scene 3 King Richard III, Shakespeare (1594); and The Personal Adverts in "The Sunday Times" Newspaper (2003). The dictionary defines seduction as, "the act of seducing, to entice, to allure or to induce to have sexual intercourse". Many written modes have been used to suggest this, such as songs and poems, although paralinguistic features such as tone of voice and overall body language must be considered an asset in this act. I will be studying poetry, speeches and personal adverts, to explore high quality and poor techniques in the act of seduction. The first text under consideration is Marvell's paradoxical and ironic Metaphysical poem called "To His Coy mistress" written circa 1646. Marvell was a puritan, but although the poem does give testimony to this it also endorses a view of sex that in his time would have been considered immoral; that sex is not something we should take seriously and sex before marriage is something to be celebrated. So it might be suggested that Marvell takes on the persona of a dashing cavalier poet and wooer. The poem starts abruptly in mid conversation. This creates an immediate colloquial dramatic monologue. The striking opening is reinforced by the elliptical syntax, "Had we" instead of "If only we had" which gives a sense of urgency; and an unusual noun adjective inversion "World enough and time". This inversion also places a strong stress on the noun, "world", which gives a sense of longing for infinite time and space in which to woo. ...read more.

Middle

To counterbalance this Shakespeare uses a technique called stichomythia, which is a short change of words in equal balance: "I would I knew thy heart"/"Tis figured in my tongue"/"I fear me both are false". Thus the graphology of this seduction is extremely skilful and persuasive. In this section Richard can be seen to be implicitly making Lady Anne feel guilty, and thus forcing her to return his feelings. In the beginning Richard declares "For now they (Anne's eyes) kill me with a living death" blaming Lady Anne for his supposed emotional demise. This has the effect of placing Richard as the victim, and Lady Anne as the plaintiff, the same technique that is used in To His Coy Mistress. However, Shakespeare uses this technique more effectively than Marvell by simply reiterating the idea. In "To His Coy Mistress" the idea of the mistress as being wrong is mentioned only once, is understated and at the very beginning, "This coyness lady were no crime". This can be missed easily where as nobody can read past "Twas I that stabbed young Edward but tw'as thy heavenly face that set me on". Shakespeare uses flattery to try to counterbalance the extreme guilt by saying that Lady Anne is the only one who has ever made Richard feel anything. He talks about how he couldn't cry at his father's death even though others were like "trees bedashed with rain" but "Thy beauty has made them blind with weeping". He also says that she has taught him how to be kind "My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word; but now thy beauty is propos'd my fee", which is a great act considering Richard's notorious reputation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Humour is a recurrent device in the language of seduction: "My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow"; and in one personal ad "In urgent need of male companionship to stop her working so hard". Both Marvell and Shakespeare used guilt to try and win their partners. This could be effective as the woman is supposed to feel blameworthy for not succumbing to the seducer; however, if this is not counterbalanced with flattery it could simply cause the mistress to become hostile and insulted. The graphology and grammar of speech is also shown to be important. Marvell diminished the effect of his seduction by using a highly formulaic structure, which creates a clinical, detached effect; on the other hand Shakespeare uses an important technique of stichomythia after Richard's long speech to ensure Lady Anne felt her opinion was respected. However, as all or one of these texts may be completely deceptive, it is important to show honest and open paralinguistic features. Both the Marvell and Shakespeare texts I have studied here use allusions and connotations of language dating back to Ancient Greek and Latin, they use metaphors and similes, "Like trees bedashed with rain" and alliteration "We"/"Would" "Long"/"Loves". Their forms of poetry include highly formulaic graphology and the lexis and syntax are formal, despite the informal positioning of the first line of Marvell's poem. This contrasts with the colloquial language and grammar of the 2003 personal ads. These differences do point to a disparity between literary and non literary texts, the more informal text being non literary; however they also show a modern inclination to informal syntax and colloquial speech. [NP1]Different word ...read more.

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