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Compare and contrast 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell and 'The Flea' by John Donne. Would you agree that both poems are about seduction?

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell and 'The Flea' by John Donne. Would you agree that both poems are about seduction? In my essay I will compare and contrast two poems 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell and 'The Flea' by John Donne. Both these poems are about seduction and each poet shows this in their own way. The arguments by both poets are presented in three parts. Donne concentrates on one metaphor: The Flea. Whereas, in contrast, Marvell uses different ways to persuade 'His Coy Mistress' into consummating their relationship. He does this using first person and, towards the end 'time' and 'death' as ways of persuading his mistress into consummation. Throughout the poem, Donne shows fear by increasing the speed (with the use of commas). Both poems are about persuasion, consummation and their mistress's honour. In the beginning of 'To His Coy Mistress', Marvell describes the beauty of his mistress. Whilst complementing her, he argues his case like a lawyer 'were no crime'. He proves he admires her by saying 'I would love you ten years'. This shows that his love for her wouldn't change, not even in ten years. ...read more.

Middle

Towards the end he becomes more involved in his argument. 'At every pore with instant fired?' This then makes Marvell realise that his mistress could die before him and describes what things could be like if she (his mistress) died. 'And your quaint honour turn to dust and into ashes all my lust'. This means that she could die without having lost her virginity. Marvell concludes his persuasive poem on seduction using references to time. 'Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him,' the last two rhyming lines refers to time in which Marvell uses the sun (as it relates to time). This is to create an illusion that time will go into retreat. Having analysed both poems, I felt that Donne uses light hearted, mocking arguments using the flea. I also feel that Marvell has an extraordinary imagination in how he describes love, death and time. Examples of this would be the marble vault, his mistress making love with worms in her grave. Despite there extraordinary factors, his argument was clearly understood. There is a difference in length between the poems as Marvell's poem is longer than Donne's. ...read more.

Conclusion

The woman in this poem is his lover. This is proven from the quotation, 'we... nay more than married are.' This is telling us that the couple could be married but that's as far as it goes, 'this flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.' This suggests to us that perhaps it is not in the religion of the woman to have sex, even if she is married. The fact that they could be husband and wife also shows why the man wants to seduce his mistress so much. The poet uses religious imageries to support his argument, for example, 'and sacrilege, three sins is killing three', 'confess is', 'a sin'. This gives us more evidence to say that religion is an extremely valid part of the mistress's argument. However, the poet is using religious imageries in a clever plat to seduce her. The poem itself refers to religion because in some religions, sex is not allowed. The poem ends with the fleas' death, as is shown in the quotation, 'as this flea's death took life from thee'. The poet is trying to argue that the flea has taken a part of his wife with it when it died (by sucking her blood), which he is comparing to losing her virginity. ...read more.

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