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How are attitudes to love and relationships presented in To His Coy Mistress, The Beggar Woman and The Seduction and what do they reveal about the roles of men and women?

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Introduction

How are attitudes to love and relationships presented in 'To His Coy Mistress', 'The Beggar Woman' and 'The Seduction' and what do they reveal about the roles of men and women? The three poems I have looked at, 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell, 'The Beggar Woman' by William King and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McCauley, although all centring around the theme of love and relationships show very different perspectives on similar issues, their contextual differences mean that each poem is diverse even though all of them challenge the social society. However in the poems we can see some similarities in the representation of men and women with one theme being the portrayal of woman as prey in the eyes on men. To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell is a poem written from the perspective of a man talking to his lover, trying to persuade her to have sex with him as "time's winged chariot hurrying near". The poem presents his opinion that time is limited and that they must act now. The poem is structured into three sections. The first is about 'if' with the man explaining the way he would do things if "had we but world enough, and time'. The second section is about 'but' where the man says that although this is what he wants to do, they don't have the time. The third section is about 'therefore' in which the man says that because of this they have to be quick about things and, as is the style of this carpe diem poem, seize the day. This structure helps to reinforce his argument as in the first section he talks about all of the romantic things he would like to do and deliberately flatters her with line like "a hundred years should go to praise thine eyes". By playfully seducing his mistress in the first section, he is setting up for her to be more likely to agree with his persuasion. ...read more.

Middle

Like "To His Coy Mistress", there is an underlying moral tone to the poem, especially in the poem's final message. To moral tone of the poem is the depiction of the gentleman's treatment of the beggar woman. "The Seduction" is the only poem which doesn't have a playful side. The tone of the poem is dark and shows tones of despair and regret. The line "he sat down in the darkness, leather jacket creaking madly" shows an example of the references to darkness in the poem and the use of adverbs like 'madly' which give the poem a threatening tone. The poem is written in the third person which acts as a distancing device. It is less personal and so makes the poem seem more sinister and lonely. The description of the sordid and dirt setting such as "her head rolling forward towards the frightening scum on the water" adds to the dark mood of the poem and makes the reader uncomfortable. In this poem, the tone is serious throughout. The different tones reflect the cultural and historical contexts and show us how the authors felt about the common views of these contexts. For example, the playful mocking tone that Marvell uses shows us that he found the way love and relationships were thought of in that time laughable. The three poem's all have a serious tone at some point which tells us that the authors all challenge society's opinions of love, relationships and gender. The messages differ but they are all intended to shock. Looking at these three poems and the times in which they were written shows us how the attitudes to love and relationships have changed over time. Marvell creates a witty argument in "To His Coy Mistress" for the persona trying to seduce his mistress. The wit is created by the development of the argument as it progresses through the 'if', 'but', and 'therefore' stages. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think the language she uses and the way she portrays the characters in the poem makes her poem as a vehicle to convey her message effective. The audience feels sympathetic for the girl which causes them to consider the gender equality issue relevant to the time the poem was written. All of the poems share a view on love and relationships that is that women are seen as 'prey'. There is a lack of love in all of the poems which shows that sex is regarded as linked to the emotion lust, and not love. The men in these poems are presented as manipulative and sophisticated and are implied to be older than the women. The women are all presented differently; in "To His Coy Mistress" the woman is hesitant and coy about sex. In "The Beggar Woman", the woman is portrayed as smart and quick witted, and in "The Seduction" the girl is presented as na�ve, innocent and young. In a way, the effects of the poems are similar as they tried to challenge society's beliefs and provide a moral point. However, due to the different styles they are written in, the poems have different effects on their audiences. "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Beggar Woman" have comedic elements while "The Seduction" is a very serious poem. Also, the audience of the times the different poems were written in would have had different views on the poems because of their social differences. My favourite poem is "The Beggar Woman" because I think King's choice of a light-hearted poem to capture the attention of many and deliver an important message was very clever. I also enjoy the steady rhythm of the poem that the others lack. The poem highlighted the problem of inequality, but also included a role reversal which the other poems didn't. I think this made it more effective at conveying its message. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rebecca White 1 ...read more.

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