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'The Sun Rising' by John Donne and Andrew Marvell's' To His Coy Mistress' are both poems concerned with love. Compare and contrast their treatment of love, making clear which poem you find most effective.

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'The Sun Rising' by John Donne and Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress' are both poems concerned with love. Compare and contrast their treatment of love, making clear which poem you find most effective. 'The Sun Rising' by John Donne and 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell are both love poems written in the 17th Century, although they have both been written in contrasting formats. In this essay I will be discussing how John Donne and Andrew Marvell have approached the topic of the love and decide which poem I find most effective. John Donne and Andrew Marvell's women both seem to be very important to them and for similar reasons. John Donne treats his woman as a trophy for his male ego; "She's all states, and all Princes I; Nothing else is." This shows that although it is obvious that she is very important to him, she seems as more of an accessory - this is because physical love is more important than spiritual love to John Donne because as they have already consummated their love he would rather stay in bed with her than do anything else. "Busy old fool, unruly Sun, Why dost thou thus, Through windows and through curtains call on us? Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?" Andrew Marvell also views physical love as being more important than spiritual love because he wouldn't love his mistress if she was ugly, "And your quaint honour turn to dust, and into ashes all my lust." ...read more.


This also shows how passionate Andrew Marvell was when he wrote the poem, which can be a compliment to his mistress. However, although he has written the poem in a way that does compliment his mistress, it isn't very personal, so it could be that he is going to use this poem for any mistress that he may have at any time. John Donne took a completely different approach to Andrew Marvell's sensitive yet blunt approach; John Donne is aggressive and argumentative, "Busy old fool, unruly sun." He is also threatening, "I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink." John Donne is also witty and shows how clever he is by having an argument with the sun (this is the conceit in the poem), "...and since thy duties be to warm the world, that's done in warming us." This also shows John Donne's sarcasm. One of the main themes in 'To His Coy Mistress' is carpe diem (seize the day). This shows his awareness that death is inevitable, so he believes that he and his mistress should cherish the time that they do have together. "But at my back I always hear, Time's winged chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie, Deserts of vast eternity." This also shows that Andrew Marvell doesn't believe in life after death, so he must therefore value his time even more. ...read more.


I also think that 'To His Coy Mistress' is more effective than 'The Sun Rising' because in 'The Sun Rising' John Donne looks quite arrogant and doesn't seem to care about his woman very much - he seems more interested in himself and how he wants more time in bed. He also looks arrogant because he seems to think that he is more important than the king; "Go tell the court-huntsmen that the king will ride." Another reason that Andrew Marvell's poem is more effective than John Donne's is because John Donne makes it quite clear that all he is interested in is physical love, whereas Andrew Marvell seems to have an equal balance because although he makes it clear that he wants a physical relationship with his mistress, he also is aware that she needs to be and deserves to be adored, he shows this by after having said that he would spend thirty thousand years worshipping her, he goes on to say; "And the last age should show your heart; For, Lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate." Andrew Marvell also has sincere reasons to write his poem, he wants his mistress to realise how short time is, for her benefit and for his. He also doesn't want her to die as a virgin and to open up to him as they have little time left and he believes that it will be impossible for them to be together when they die, "Had we but world enough and time, this coyness, lady, were no crime." ...read more.

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