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Compare and contrast these pre 1914 poems about women and sex.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast these pre 1914 poems about women and sex. Centre number: 34639 Andrew Marvell's poem 'To his Coy Mistress' and 'The Beggar Women', written by William King, are both poems written around the seventeenth century and they reflect the roles of women at the time. As it was a patriarchal society, women were considered to be less important than men and this comes through in both of the poems. Although they differ in many ways and vary in their styles of writing, both are trying to get across the same message. Andrew Marvell wrote the poem 'To his Coy Mistress' and it is true to the standards of women during this period of time. Marvell was also a politician so his natural talent for arguing comes through in the text. The narrator of it is the man in the poem and, although the readers do not know his name, a lot of information about him can be found in the poem. He is of a higher social class because he is obviously well educated. He knows a lot of facts about other countries, and his language suggests that he is quite posh and higher up in society. The woman who he is talking to has no voice, because in the period of time that this poem was written, it was a patriarchal society and men ruled women. Marvell made it so the woman did not speak so it indicated towards her being easily persuaded, and also she would have been brought up not to show her feelings. ...read more.

Middle

The second poem is called 'The Beggar Woman' and it was written by William King. It is a narrative poem that tells a simple story with a twist. It tells that tale of a poor beggar woman tricking a rich squire into taking her baby, whist he think he is getting her to sleep with him. The poem is structured quite differently to the first poem, because there are not separate stanzas. As it is telling a story, there is a beginning, middle and end, and it is all together and planned. There are rhyming couplets used which make the poem easy to read, and also there are ten syllables and five stresses in each line which help keep the rhythm in the poem going. The first section of the poem describes how the two characters meet. The readers know that the man is of a higher social class because only men rich enough for horses would be able to go out hunting. The readers also know that the young girl is poor and homeless because she is described as "A beggar". This section reflects mens' views of women at the time, because she is being portrayed as an animal. This point is illustrated by the quote, "..had other game in view." It is suggesting that just because she is not rich, she should be treated like an animal. Also, "game" in hunting needs to be chased and caught, just like a woman. As in the first poem, there is a pun. It says, "..the hare pursue", and although it could be referring to the animal that he is hunting, it could also be seen as 'her', meaning the woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

This becomes clear because it says in the poem, "That long-preserved virginity". Thirdly, the second poem has more of a moral, which is to think about the responsibilities of having sex. Also, there are changes in the language between to the two poems, because in the first one, a lot of threatening and frightening language is used along with the gentle and complimentary words. In the second poem, there is no aggressive language, and this could be because 'The Beggar Woman' is supposed to be a more light-hearted and fun poem. Lastly, there are differences between the two women because of their social classes. The girl in 'To his Coy Mistress' is obviously rich and of a higher class, so she would be less vulnerable than the woman in the second poem, as she would be more respected and worthy of courtship. On the other hand, the beggar woman in the second poem would have been physically and socially vulnerable because she would have been looked down upon. However, as they were both women, they still would not have been given all the rights they deserved. After studying both poems, I have noticed that they both get across the seriousness of how women were treated in this period of time, but in different ways. 'The Beggar Woman' uses humour and tells a story in a fun way, whilst on the other hand, 'To his Coy Mistress' is about how different social classes of women are treated differently. I have come to the conclusion that the second poem is best for earning women respect, but both contain equally as important messages. Ellen Coyle 10m 1 ...read more.

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