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

Compare and Contrast how John Donne and Andrew Marvell present death in the poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X

Extracts from this document...


Compare and Contrast how John Donne and Andrew Marvell present death in the poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X In the poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X the idea of death plays a strong part in the overall messages of the poems. Both poets use effective but very different methods in order to put forward their views and/or to make a point about society. John Donne's poem Holy Sonnet X is very unique Donne uses two main poetic elements: tone and figurative language. The confident and defiant tone adds to the speakers triumphant mastery death from a natural occurrence into a human adversary, capable of being overthrown. These elements all combine to enhance the theme of the poem. In contrast Marvell in To His Coy Mistress uses tone, figurative language and rhythm to give a completely different effect on the reader. The scornful, jeering manner of Sonnet X is replaced with the passionate and endearing spirit of an ardent lover. The figurative language used on the 'coy' mistress stirs the emotions and shocks the senses of the reader, allowing the increased intensity of the poem as it progresses to make the poem more effective. ...read more.


After stating:- "The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think do there embrace." Marvell then goes on to say.... "Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew." This example captures perfectly the subtle implications of the grave, and then this sudden transformation onto a completely new topic leaving the unpleasant image there to do its damage. Donne on the other hand uses a completely different approach by making all of his images obvious and continuous, and clearly linked with the subject: "Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men." Although these poems appear at first to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, there are a surprising amount of similarities between the two. Repulsive images are used often which I feel best provokes the right emotions to describe death, and to shock the reader. Marvell takes this to a higher level with more ghastly images such as, "then worms shall try/That long preserved virginity." Marvell makes use of hyperboles (deliberate exaggerations to emphasise), although Donne's persistence with dark images is just as effective: "And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell," All of these images are closely linked with death, and none are pleasant. ...read more.


In Donne's Holy Sonnet, his thoughtful and well presented beliefs on death are thought provoking and mentally stimulating in that they give a fresh outlook on an old subject. Donne essentially captures the whole essence of the fear of death - that it is self controlling and may be just around the corner - and contradicted this argument with astonishing shrewdness. Holy Sonnet X speaks out to me because of its astonishing directness. Donne has captured the very essence of Death and combined it with the jeering tones to bring the unseen force down to the level of an ordinary being. To His Coy Mistress appeals to my personal tastes, in the style and message of the poem. It is a very clever poem. Marvell very successfully lulls the reader into a passiveness with nicely rhyming couplets with only a few grotesque images to add to the overall effect of the poem. He demonises time as a tyrant, slowly killing us all until death finally kicks in to finish us. He then gives the impression that the best way to fight this demon is to love with enough passion to free us of the circle of life and death. Anita Boakye-Boateng 10BQ ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Andrew Marvell 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 GCSE Andrew Marvell essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and Contrast "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love".

    3 star(s)

    Andrew Marvell uses the letter "w" at the very start of the poem but Marlowe uses his alliteration of "m" at the end to make the poem last longer. There is an assortment of good language throughout both of the poems, which suggests the poets were both well educated and clever.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Which of 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne and 'To His Coy Mistress' by ...

    For example: 'Must thy motions lover's seasons run?' The point of a rhetorical question is that the person to who it is addressed cannot answer. In this case Donne does this cleverly because it sounds as if the sun should be apologising for interrupting the lovers.

  1. Compare and Contrast 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell with 'To His Mistress ...

    Then when he realises that he is having no luck he moves on to scare tactics. "My echoing song: then worms shall try that long preserved virginity". By describing an awful extreme it places a haunting image in her mind. It's less likely to be forgotten if it is visual.

  2. The Metaphysical Poets: John Donne and Andrew Marvell.

    two of them making love then maybe she would feel better about doing it, maybe she would even want to do it. The example where Marvell begins create images is in lines 33-43 and they say, "Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, 35

  1. Two of the poems in 'Best Words' are 'seduction poems', rather than love poems ...

    Now that same thing is sex. Back in the 17th century men were then in control of things. This is called patriarchal society, this means in control of women. Also women back in that time were not respected for who they were.

  2. Compare and contrast 'The Ruined Maid', 'To His Coy Mistress' and 'Remember'.

    Rossetti has written the whole poem in a single stanza of fourteen lines with one flowing train of thought. She uses ten syllables in each line except for line eleven where she only uses nine. I think this is because it is an enjambment. It has a smooth, flowing rhythm.

  1. Compare 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell with 'Sonnet 138' by William Shakespeare. ...

    that their love would develop naturally and grow to be bigger than the empire, but, it would be taken nice and slowly. In the next few lines he starts to praise her body by starting at the top. He praises her eyes and her forehead, as it was considered beautiful if you had a white forehead.

  2. Compare and Contrast 'To his Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell with 'To his Mistress ...

    the reader the chance to understand and appreciate what's being alleged through a different technique, in this case it's the language. Although Marvell's poem was written in the 17th century, when contrasted to John Donne's, it would seem it was written during mid 18th century, maybe even early 19th century,

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