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Comparison between To his coy mistress and Sonnet 116

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Andrew Marvel's "To his Coy Mistress" and Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 are two poems which focus on similar themes but have different viewpoints in seeing them. Both pieces have the running ideas of love and time. The two poems "To His Coy Mistress" and Sonnet 116 were written in the late 16th and 17th century at a time when early and premature death were extremely common. However Shakespeare lived during the Elizabethan era which also known as the renaissance because it was the golden age for theatre and drama. This reflects in the nature of his poem where he refers to love as never-ending which could be a sign of the peacefulness of the time he lived in. Andrew Marvell however lived during the 17th century. This was a time where the English civil war was taking place and there was unrest in many parts of England. There were also religious upheavals with the popular growth of Protestantism. There was a great deal of religious scepticism as people tried to pick their faith. In addition to this Marvell was quite a rich young man when he wrote this poem. There have reports that he travelled Europe in his youth visiting many countries. During this time when rich aristocrats such as Marvell travelled out of England it was usually in search of knowledge and experiences. They also had many affairs with many women during their travels. This reflects in his poem, where it seems that time is quite a rare commodity and change is inevitable. ...read more.


In Greek mythology, the sun was personified as the god Apollo, who rode his golden chariot from east to west each day. Thus, Marvell here associates the sun god with the passage of time. The poet then in the next line refers to time as "deserts of eternity" This reference is in stark contrast to the idyllic and carefree portrayal of time given in previous lines. Time is now displayed as a barren and desolate desert which lasts for a painful eternity. This is meant to scare the reader in to thinking of the future where her beauty would fade and age would creep in. Marvell then goes on to morbidly remind the reader that if she continues to reject his advances her virginity would remain untouched until her "marble vault "or tomb. It would then finally be taken by the worms in the grave. This Mockery of idealized romantic poetry through crude or shocking imagery, as in lines 27 and 28 is a common trait shown in metaphysical poetry. The use of sibilance in the words "shall sound" gives an echoing effect to the words amplifying the almost prophetic tone. Marvell starts his solution or synthesis with a classic argumentative word, therefore which signifies the start of his answer to his problem. The poet starts with a very clich�d simile, "like morning dew2. He also uses sibilance by stating "sits on thy skin" to emphasise the youthfulness of the reader and the fact that it eventually will slide down and away. ...read more.


Next, he implicates"real time," to persuade her to become accessible to him. In real time, Marvell gives examples of her aging and how she will go to the grave with her pride if she doesn't give in. Finally, the use of"optimum time" plays on her emotions of how sweet the opportunity to make love to her would be. Marvell tells his mistress that the act would be almost animalistic and intense. Throughout the poem, he uses the phases of time in an attempt to frighten her into having sex with him. However in sonnet 116, Love is not affected by time at all. In the poem love is described as not being "Times fool" and "alters not with his brief hours and weeks" Shakespeare describes love in its truest form, between two minds. Love that is more powerful than time and lasts to the bitter end. Sonnet 116 strikes readers as relatively simple. The metaphors are reasonably transparent, and the theme is quickly and plainly apparent. The overarching sentiment of true love's timeless and immutable nature is presented and developed in the first eight lines, but there is no twist at the third quatrain - rather a continuation of the theme. Even the finishing couplet the sonnet ends on is suitably lucid and lays out Shakespeare's views as it is. The simplicity is noteworthy, and perhaps it was deliberate: Shakespeare's goal may have been unaffected candour, sincerity of conviction. However it can plainly be said that this sonnet follows the age old adage that "Love conquers all". ?? ?? ?? ?? Poetry Comparison Coursework ...read more.

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