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Poetry Comparison-Shakespeare and Marvell

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Introduction

Poetry Comparison I will be comparing the two poems "Sonnet Number 18" by William Shakespeare and "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell. Both poems were written in the seventeenth century, though their subject matters differ. The Sonnet's subject matter is intended to be an ode of love to a woman, saying how he will love her even when she is old. Contrastingly, To His Coy Mistress is more about lust. It is quite crude, with the poet imploring the woman to have sex with him, and saying how she will die a lonely virgin if she does not. However, there is also an element of humour, with it being clear that he knows his argument is not strong. It could be intended to mock male attitudes, female attitudes or possibly both. The voices of both poems are the poet, both trying to seduce a woman. However, they do it in very different ways. Shakespeare is very romantic, for example, he starts off with, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? ...read more.

Middle

To His Coy Mistress is much longer, with an AABB rhyming pattern and three stanzas of varying length. These are thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which was a popular way to structure poems at the time. The thesis puts forward an argument, in this case how beautiful the woman is: "For, Lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate." Here he is saying that he would settle for nothing less than her. The antithesis then presents a predicament: The woman is too shy and as time goes by she will only get older and uglier: "But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near;" Finally, the synthesis comes up with a solution, which, in this poem, is encouraging the woman to throw caution to the wind and have sex with him while she is still young and beautiful: "Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew.... ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of this it is very serious and sincere. Marvell's poem focuses more on physical attraction. However, it is slightly tongue in cheek, maybe poking fun at the narrow mindedness of men, the coyness of women, or possibly both. I think this is possible because of the overdramatic language he uses, calling her chastity "the iron gates of life." These poems differ in their views towards women, but ultimately have the same goal: to woo the object of their affection. Since they were written by contemporaries there are similar themes that were popular at the time, most notably nature. They try to persuade their targets using language, pace, humour, imagery and hyperbole, and you could say Marvell almost uses scare tactics. Nowadays, a woman being coy is not such an issue and men would be less likely to write romantic poems to their love interests. I was surprised to find that men could still be quite dirty-minded back then. In conclusion, I think both poems accurately convey the times in which they were written and use a variety of techniques to get their points across. ...read more.

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