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A Dialogue between the Soul and Body by Andrew Marvell

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Lauren Carnegie Jack Hill LT111 A Dialogue between the Soul and Body by Andrew Marvell Marvell's poem shows the body and soul as two separate entities, both with conscious thought and the ability to express themselves. Both have conflicting views of their purpose in being, together with the pain inflicted by the other, In a vain head, and a double heart? The Soul complains that the head is too self-obsessed, i.e. with the body, and cares little for the well being of the soul. Also within this line Marvell shows two hearts beating as one, plus a physical reference to the double ventricles of the heart. Marvell lays foundation in science for the explanation of these two entities living and breathing together, but also shows their two separate roles by the conflict in which they partake, A body that could never rest, Since this ill spirit it possessed? Marvells use of 'rest' implies that the body cannot have peace until it is relieved of the soul, but also that the body is a foundation or support for it. ...read more.


does heat, Or hatred's hidden ulcer eat; Marvell uses images of serious physical ailments in comparison to emotional sufferings to express the extent to which the soul harms the body i.e., paralysis, epidemics and ulcers. Even the emotions that, supposedly, produce pleasure are described as 'perplexing'. He shows the mutual sufferings that they cause each other through emotions, but also through the imagery of confinement and torture that the body inflicts on the soul, With bolts of bones, that fettered stands In feet, and manacled in hands The body is seen as a hindrance on the freedom of the soul and with the use of restraints Marvell expresses the torture inflicted by this and the extent of liberty that the soul possesses. The body retorts by showing its own restraint and describing the soul as a tyrant who invades his consciousness with frivolous emotions. Which, stretched upright, impales me so, That mine own precipice I go; The body recognises that he owes his consciousness to the soul but expresses it as a superfluous entity. ...read more.


We see the contrasting images of man-made and nature being joined together to create Grosart's 'incongruity'. Within this poem Marvell shows a witty account of the different responsibilities of the soul and body, but also the pain that the external world impresses upon us. Marvell enhances the wit of the poem by the repetitive rhythm of the stanzas and increases the feeling of a constant banter between the two beings. We are shown the pain that each impresses upon the other, but also the parallels between the 'lives' that they lead. Marvell expresses the soul as a partner to the body rather than an innate entity, which creates differing opinions and an argumentative tone. Marvell's appliance of logical argument in 'A Dialogue between the Soul and Body' shows the complexity of the human composition, which we take for granted. The contrast of wit with a logical debate, at first, conveys the simplicity of the poem, but as Marvells builds the argument we are given the logical flow of the inflictions we are exposed to in life. ...read more.

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