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Comparison of 'shall i compare thee' and 'to his coy mistress' Pre 1914 poems

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Poetry Coursework: Compare two poems which deal with love in different ways The two poems which I will be comparing are shall I compare thee...? By Shakespeare (1564-1616) and To his Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) because they deal with love in a completely contrasting way. They are both written in iambic pentameter to get across to the reader, but Shall I compare thee...? is a poem of love and is a Shakespearean sonnet, whereas To His Coy Mistress is more of a persuasive poem which uses strong language and imagery to seduce. In To His Coy Mistress the arguments are structured in two stanzas plus a conclusion with the final couplet of the stanza summing up the argument. It is satirical and uses irony for effect, but isn't an entirely serious poem, the title itself is double entendre effective. The first stanza signifies time 'Had we but world enough time' and is written in the conditional tense, in the second stanza he states that there isn't enough time 'Time's wing�d chariot hurrying near.' And the third stanza really is the summing up of the arguments, 'now therefore...' with the final couplet of rhyme summing up the argument. Shall I compare thee...? However is a sonnet (14 lines), which is written in iambic pentameter. Sonnets are generally love poems and this is one is about Shakespeare talking to a lover. They are both written in the first person, which can have different effects. ...read more.


Although both poems have the same ideas in the beginning i.e. praise, the next stanza of To Coy Mistress and the next quatrain of Shall I compare thee...? contrast each other in that Shakespeare's sonnet expands on the beauty comparison he is making, whereas Marvell in the second stanza says what could happen and how her beauty could be wasted. The second stanza of To His Coy Mistress starts of with the use of personification 'at my back I always hear time's wing�d chariot hurrying near' suggesting a lack of time, and enjambment on the first two couplets, which give a fast pace and rhythm the 'hurrying' chariot of Apollo. This second stanza is a complete contrast to the first one because of the use of language, ideas and imagery. The use of enjambment speeds the poem up in contrast to the first stanza which was very slow, 'if we had all the time...' The first stanza was all exotic and beautiful whereas this second stanza is the complete opposite; 'deserts of vast eternity...beauty shall no more be found' and there is contrasts of a very wet beautiful river like the Ganges and a dry empty desert. From being jovial and cheerful in the first stanza the mood is reversed to a threatening and frightening tone with menacing images of death 'in thy marble vault...then worms shall try,' images of a tomb in a burial place are made to come to mind from this description. ...read more.


She is immortalised through the words of the poem, and the fact that people still read about her poem. Some may be led into believing that this everlasting beauty is the actual poem itself, because it is everlasting as it is passed on generation by generation. In summary we can say that, To His Coy Mistress makes use of different writing techniques significantly more such as hyperbole, enjambment, assonance and alliteration...etc. it is much more technical in terms of English, possibly because it is a poem of persuasion, and is in one way written in debate style. Shall I compare thee...? however is much more of a descriptive poem in which he compares his beloved to nature all the way throughout and her eternal beauty, in contrast to Marvell's poem which is a poem written about the shortage of time. Although both Shakespeare and Marvell have the same basic concept of praising their beloved, they are written in a different tone, and that's the main difference. This is because Marvell writes in a more persuasive and intellectual way whereas Shakespeare writes in a much more sincere and admiring way. If my opinion was to be taken, I personally preferred Shakespeare's sonnet simply because of the way it ends, because the last couplet ends in a very sensuous and powerful way. After reading the whole sonnet, the dramatic change at the end just makes the reader re-think and re-read it, especially the imagination which must have gone into concluding his sonnet like that unknowing whether his poetry would still be known in the future 400 years later till this present day. ...read more.

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