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Compare 'Beggar Woman'(William King) and 'To His Coy Mistress'(Andrew Marvell).

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Introduction

'Beggar Woman'(William King) and 'To His Coy Mistress'(Andrew Marvell) are two poems written in the 17th century when society was very different to how it is today: women had no status, rights, or independence. All aspects of society were male dominated, they ruled, and so all laws and acts were in the favour of males. The poems are great examples of how society was when they were written, they also mirror the roles each gender played in the various aspect of life, the males active and controlling, the women passive, and they had to be compliant. At the beginning of this poem, there is a description of a gentleman out hunting, which is an upper class activity, as they are the only people who could afford to take part in such an expensive activity, also by the fact he is described as a 'Gentleman' suggests he belongs to the upper class or 'Gentry'. The 'Gentleman spots the 'Beggar Woman' and she is described as 'game', because really to the man that is all she (the Beggar Woman) is, due to her gender and social status. When he wants the Beggar Woman's attention he addresses her as 'mistress' which shows respect, yet not so much as to call her a lady, just enough to keep on the right side of her until he gets what he wants, I think. The man then proceeds to issue commands to the lady, due to his class and gender this, at this period in time was socially accepted. ...read more.

Middle

So I think the beggar woman was just trying to make the man aware, and also get a better life for 'Bobby' than she could give him. I believe the poet decided to write his poem in a light hearted tone with a regular rhyme and rhythm (not true in all poems) was so that it would be read and remembered, and hopefully the point taken on board. I believe that the class divide must have been something the poet felt strongly about, so he wrote a poem to get his message and opinion across to people. The rhyme and rhythm is also not a particularly easy stylistic choice to make, and King does well to stop it sounding silly and contrived. The poem is written as a narrative and so has no proper breaks (verses). The poem uses rhyming couplets, which would aid memory, as this poem may have been a bard's tale, told in taverns, spreading his message. The overall tone of the poem is light hearted but with a serious point which would hopefully be taken onboard, the poems style is suitable for recital in a tavern. In contrast, To His Coy Mistress, a poem by Andrew Marvell, in contrast to the Beggar Woman does not tell a story, it is a collection of ideas, attempting to coerce a woman into having sex. It is written by a man with very much a 'Carpe Diem' philosophy on life, living for the moment, lusting after women that take his fancy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The role of the woman in this poem, though she is the object of it, is very little else. According to the man she is beauteous and this works against her, the man using it to his advantage. The role women out of each poem discounting social circumstance are both the same, in the eyes of men, objects of lust. Although written hundreds of years ago, these poems raise questions relevant today. The wants of some men and women from relationships has changed little since them. The men in both poems, are after one thing, and ideally would get it without having to have a steady relationship, both women I assume, would rather not be in their respective positions. Many of the attitudes expressed in the poem are understandable such as the Beggar Woman's views, as shown at the end of 'The Beggar Woman' may have been revolutionary and uproarious at the time, are now seen as the correct and fair way to do things. However this is the only view in the poem I find acceptable, the rest I find dated such as, as I have explained the class divide, and also the sexual inequalities, women being treated as a inferior species almost. Still many of the views etc. expressed in these poems are applicable today, the 'Carpe Diem' attitude is still adopted, rather foolishly I think, by many young people. The modern reader of the poem should learn from the way some things were how not to do things again, to learn from the mistakes of previous generations. Jonathan Hayes 11R ...read more.

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