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How do these poets portray love and relationships?

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Introduction

HOW DO THESE POETS PORTRAY LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS? In the poems, "The Flea", by John Donne, and Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress", the two men use very different seduction tactics in the pursuit of their prey, indicating that the women being pursued are very different in their nature and temperament. John Donne's witty and outrageous poem "The Flea" is a classic with an argumentative tone and blend of amorous and intellectual elements. John Donne has apparently lost his heart to a very strong-willed and contrary companion, but one that he does not fear to challenge. Rather than using extravagant declarations of love, or promises of eternal fidelity, the poem adopts a tone of ironically detached logic. He begins by bringing her attention to a flea. "Mark but this flea," he says. He starts by pointing out that, in a sense, they are already "mingled" together, since both their blood now mixes in the stomach of the flea. As well for standing for the blending of other fluids, this recalls the "one flesh" image which appears in the Bible and the marriage ceremony as a description of the link between a married couple. He laments that this small flea is free to enjoy his lover's body without the formalities that Donne is required to observe. "...this enjoys before it woo...this, alas, is more than we would do". ...read more.

Middle

He is being cynical. Andrew Marvell's target, on the other hand, seems to respond to a much gentler approach, at least initially. She wants to wait. He indulges her desire, and begins his poem with an expansion of their courtship to include all of time and space, which would allow her to delay giving in to him indefinitely, calling it their "long love's day". In "To His Coy Mistress," Andrew Marvell unveils the hidden, sexual desires of an older gentleman waiting to seize the day with the woman he loves. Marvell's dramatic monologue relates the readers to the complications of consummating a relationship by bridging the gap between lust and love. The character is faced with the struggle of subduing this delicate matter in a lady's presence and of fighting his own urges to let his personal needs surface. In one instance, he takes the time to explain that the love he has for the woman is patient and kind. In the next, he is consumed by thoughts of passion as he realises the end may be drawing near. Andrew Marvell uses the first twenty lines of his monologue to describe the gentleman's feelings of love for his mistress. The man spends this time trying to convince the woman that what he says is true. He lets her know that he would take all the time the world offered to consummate their love. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the case of "To His Coy Mistress," the man tries to convince his timid love to throw caution to the wind because the end may sneak up on them. Andrew Marvell presented his audience with this scenario because it proves that it is best to take every opportunity one is faced with, portraying a theme of Carpe Diem, meaning 'seize the day'. Marvell used a common situation in which he related to readers the struggles that people face. He succeeded in showing the importance of fulfilling one's needs and desires. As Marvell's character proposed, "...we cannot make our sun stand still." Marvell's use of imagery and allusion makes this poem come to life because it makes the reader think about things in a very real way. Using death as an argument for carpe diem is very effective because it makes one think of the life they have now and that they should take advantage of it, before it is indeed too late. His views on love and relationships appear to be hedonistic, which is similar to those of Donne's. They both share the idea of carpe diem in the sense of refusing to be patient, and instead, they both attempt impatiently to get what they want, and when they want it. Seduction is clearly never an exact science, however, Donne and Marvell have two very different women in their sights, and as such, their approaches to each woman are widely diverse, but probably equally effective. Georgia Reeve Best Words ...read more.

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