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Poetry Comparison: The two Love poems 'A Woman to Her Lover' by Christina Walsh and 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvel

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Introduction

Poetry Comparison: The two Love poems 'A Woman to Her Lover' by Christina Walsh and 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvel. In this essay I am going to compare the two poems 'A Woman to Her Lover' by Christina Walsh, written in the middle of the nineteenth century and 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell, from the seventeenth century. Each of the two poems show a different gender perspective and the different views on marriage in the society at the time they were written. Christina Walsh's poem reflects the inferior view of women in the Victorian era. However in the seventeenth century when 'To His Coy Mistress' was written there was an unwritten rule of courtly love where the woman had the choice of who she marries and to achieve a woman's love a man would have to almost worship her. The titles of both poems start the idea of opposite gender perspectives; feminism and chauvinism. In 'A Woman to Her Lover' the word 'her' suggests a feminist voice speaking for all women. This is reinforced by the use of indefinite article 'A Woman' suggesting Christina Walsh is speaking for a universal group. ...read more.

Middle

The atmosphere in 'To His Coy Mistress' is added to by vulgar imagery 'then worms shall try that long preserved virginity'. The sexual connation 'worms' creates an explicit atmosphere. The tone of 'A Woman to Her Lover' is reflected in the structure of the poem. Four unequal stanzas. This irregularity could represent the daringness of the issues she is raising. The repetition of the phrase 'O lover I refuse you!' emphasises her anger and refusal. But it changes at the end to 'O husband I am yours forever' the contrast of the phrases highlights the other side of the message. In 'To His Coy Mistress' the first stanza is long which reflects long time scales, this connects to the imagery used 'an age at least' this also reinforces Marvels impatience. The second stanza is shorter this shows Marvels urgency, this also corresponds to the imagery, 'before your quaint honour turn to dust', and the lack of time Marvel is trying to portray. Walsh uses the power of three for example 'every deed and word and wish' this suggests a steadiness and shows that the poem is a predisposed argument as she must have thought carefully about persuasive techniques. ...read more.

Conclusion

Walsh also uses sensory language 'laugh with joy' this emphasises her change in tone at the end of the poem as it shows happiness and enjoyment. Similarly the language in 'To His Coy Mistress' becomes more sensual, Marvel uses more rich language such as 'language' or 'devour' this could be another attempt to gain his mistresses sexual love. Marvel also uses sibilance threaded throughout the poem, for example 'coyness', 'rubies' or 'Jews' this adds a softness and compassionateness. Walsh strengthens her message with quite powerful imagery, for example the spiritual reference 'a wingless angel' , 'angel' reflects the pressure she feels to be a perfect wife but on the other hand the word 'wingless' shows that she feels trapped and she is restricted from escaping the society which is so normal. This imagery is echoed by 'a doll to dress and sit', the word 'doll' suggests men's possession over women, 'to dress and sit' suggests a lack of independence and manipulation by men. Again this strengthens her message by giving us an example of what she thinks is wrong with society. Marvels imagery is contrived, 'By the Indian Ganges' side', this typical romantic image adds to the strength of the argument. ...read more.

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