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Compare and contrast John Donne's 'The Flea' and Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'; Deciding which you feel is the most seductive.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast John Donne's 'The Flea' and Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'; Deciding which you feel is the most seductive. Andrew Marvell and John Donne were two prominent members of the metaphysical movement and they wrote the poems "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Flea" respectively. The two poems are based on the idea of seduction and both express their different views making the poems contrasting to one another. John Donne's and Andrew Marvell's poems both use their metaphysical views to mock the concept of courtly love. Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" describes the poet's impatient desire for furthering his relationship with his "coy mistress." Marvell is adamant in his persuasion, using the conceit of time and progression to seduce and persuade his reluctant mistress. John Donne's "The Flea" is a first person narrative and a direct address to a woman where the poet concentrates on one metaphor; the flea. He uses the flea as an argument to persuade his mistress, explaining how the flea has bitten both of them and now has their "bloods mingled" inside, using this as a reason for them to engage in sex. The layout of each poem is definitely significant. Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" is a first person narrative, addressing his love to his mistress directly. ...read more.

Middle

He asks her to engage in sex with him before time runs out and compares himself to "strength" and her to "sweetness." Marvell concludes with the use of personification in the line "...we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run." This line also concludes his feelings and his solution to his argument as he believes that even though they cannot stop time, they should still make use of it by having fun and enjoying themselves. John Donne's "The Flea," similarly to Marvell's poem, shows a progression of persistency in each of the three stanzas. The first stanza of Donne's poem begins by Donne telling the woman to notice the flea; "Mark but this flea, and mark in this." In the next few lines, Donne conveys the thought of the woman's virginity being as significant as the flea; "How little that which thou deny'st me is; me it sucked first, and now sucks thee." Here he is referring to the flea bites. Donne describes the union of himself and the woman since the flea has "our two bloods mingled." The use of this extended metaphor is Donne's way of saying that now that the flea has both their bloods "mingled" they should have sex. He tells her to "confess it" referring to the fact that he feels she knows that they should be together now. ...read more.

Conclusion

The three stanzas of each poem all show progression of feelings and stages of seduction. Another similarity is that both poets use many poetic techniques such as metaphors, similes and personification. The structure of Marvell's poem is slightly different in that it does not have a fixed amount of lines per stanza unlike the other two poets. Marvell uses a variety of poetic techniques such as hyperbolic language unlike the other two poets who use monosyllabic language and simpler sentence structures. My preference of two poems, and the one I feel to be the most seductive is Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress." I believe the content of the poem is excellent as the progression of Marvell's frustration is clearly evident in each of the three stanzas. This is coupled with sentiments of the poem conveying a significant insight into Marvell's thoughts. My decision is based on the varied language Marvell has used. I feel it is very effective as there is a good and varied use of poetic techniques in conjunction with effective sentence structure. This all combines to make the poem more enjoyable to read and in terms of seduction, a much more effective seduction poem because of it. I prefer this poem to the other two because I believe John Donne used a lack of poetic techniques and his poem "The Flea" is not very seductive as he ends his poem in becoming desperate and pleading with the woman, a sharp contrast to how the first two stanzas began. ...read more.

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