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The Similarities and Differences between 'To His Coy Mistress' and 'The Ruined Maid'.

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Janeme Lam The Similarities and Differences between 'To His Coy Mistress' and 'The Ruined Maid' 'To His Coy Mistress' is written by Andrew Marvell in the 17th Century. Marvell was one of the so-called metaphysical poets - a term of mild literary abuse coined by Dr. Johnson. 'The Ruined Maid' was written by Thomas Hardy in 1866. It is important to analyse the theme, language, tone, characters and style of both poems in order to compare and contrast them. 'To His Coy Mistress' is a lyric of seduction. It is about a young man who tries to persuade a young girl to have sex with him. It seems that he has made an attempt but fails, because the girl is unwilling to yield her virginity. The poem is an example of a carpe diem poem - 'carpe diem' is Latin for 'seize the day'. The man expresses his sadness at the thought of swiftly passing time and the shortness of life. He wants to persuade the girl to grab the time that they have. The poem splits up into three sections with different moods. The first section contains lots of flatteries. ...read more.


He also presents her as a bit prudish. At the last section, he refers to himself and the woman as 'we', implying that they are joined together. At the third section, it is full of passion and lust. The 'instant fires' relate to the heat of passion. 'Sport' means energetic exercise and 'devour'- they will consume the time without thought or ceremony. The tone quickly changes from the midsection. It changes from melancholy to anticipation. In addition an epicurean philosophy enters at the last section. Epicurean is the belief in physical pleasure and freedom of pain as significant goals for human life. In this poem, Marvell says that while they are still living, they should have fun and do what they can. 'And tear our pleasures... through the iron gates of life'. They should overcome the negative forces, seize the day. There is irony in this poem; Marvell has already told us there is no time between the man and the woman at the first line of the poem. Everything about how many years he will praise her body and how long he will wait for her to have sex with him is ironic. ...read more.


At last, he makes a solution that they should have sex now; otherwise it will be too late. Overall, I think the poem is not quite successful at persuading a modern lady. It may be a clever and sophisticated piece of argument in the 17th century. His intelligent writing style of the paradox of time and all the imagery might have impressed the coy mistress. However, the mistress might be a rich woman and she might be happy with her present life while she keeps her virginity. In general, the man is the one who is disappointed if he cannot have sex with her. In the ruined maid, Hardy is quite successful in teasing society's hypocrisy in condemning prostitution. One may have a better life and better position as a prostitute. However, in my opinion, I think reputation is an important thing for women. I would tease the ruined maid as well. I would rather be a poor country girl than a prostitute. Even if she has a better life and is rich, she is totally shameful and condemned by the public. Losing her virginity is an indignity, as is being as 'ruined'. Not only should the prostitutes be blamed, but also the men who pay them for sex should be humiliated. The men's reputation should also be ruined. ...read more.

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