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POETRY COMPARISON OF 'TO HIS COY MISTRESS' AND 'ONE FLESH'

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Introduction

POETRY COMPARISON OF 'TO HIS COY MISTRESS' AND 'ONE FLESH' The two poems that I am going to compare are 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell and 'One Flesh' by Elizabeth Jennings. The poem 'To His Coy Mistress' is about a man who is pressurising his mistress or girlfriend to live for the moment. In other words it means that he wants her to have sex with him. The poem that I have chosen to write about is a 'Carpe diem' poem, which is a traditional motive in classical love poetry. In this case it is about exploiting the idea of time quickly passing in order to pressurize the young woman into having sex with him. Carpe diem also means "seize the day" which leads to meaning "live for the moment because eventually you are going to die". The poem was written in the 1640's. It looks like a love poem but Marvell is criticising the old idea of Carpe diem poetry. His choice of imagery undermines the tradition, and Marvell uses contemporary Renaissance culture to show that the traditional rhetoric is false. Marvell lingers on the idea of death; 'the grave's a fine and private place', which was an obsession with the Renaissance writers in a perverse sort f logic, not stopping at old age but going into the grave. ...read more.

Middle

In this line 'quaint' has two meanings to it. The first meaning is 'vagina'. He is saying that the worms will have her body, not him. The second meaning to 'quaint' is prim or old-fashioned. The sentence "And into ashes all my lust" is a reference to Christian burial service. Marvell then starts being ironic and says "The Grave's a fine and private place, But none I think do there embrace". He is being ironic as privacy is hard for young people in his day but the 1640s tombs were like marble rooms - though the people in them are dead. In the final section the word "therefore" is used to make the act of love seem logical and right. The first two lines state that: - "Now therefore, while the youthful hue, Sits on thy skin like morning dew". He is referring to her beautiful, youthful skin. This is shown more when he says "And while thy willing soul transpires, At every pore with instant fires", saying that her soul is burning for her to lose her virginity. In the next line it says "Now let us sport us while we may". ...read more.

Conclusion

It is as if they haven't realized that time is passing by. The speaker in 'One Flesh' also adds the thought of herself and her own conception by saying: - "Do they know they're old, These two who are my father and mother Whose fire from which I came from, has now grown cold?" Here the speaker is wondering at the silence and separation of her parents and pondering on the fact that she was conceived from their 'former passion'. The use of rhyme in 'old' and 'cold' links to the concept of old age (old) and lack of passion (the fire of passion is cold). This is the opposite of 'To His Coy Mistress' as Marvell shows in his poem that there is a lot of passion between him and his girlfriend - "...And into ashes all my lust". Overall, I preferred the poem 'One Flesh' as it is much easier to understand and I also really like the way that Elizabeth Jennings uses words to describe the situation to the reader right at the start of the poem - "Lying apart now, each in a separate bed...". I liked the poem 'To His Coy Mistress' because Marvell is not just begging his lover throughout the whole poem but he also talks about death. By Ayah Al-Hassani 11MS ...read more.

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