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With close reference to the poems you have studied, show how the poets have approached the theme of romantic love.

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Introduction

With close reference to the poems you have studied, show how the poets have approached the theme of romantic love. In this assignment I have chosen to carefully examine two very contrasting poems, which both focus on different aspects of romantic love. The first poem is by English poet Andrew Marvell. To his coy mistress was written in 1650, it shows the use of language to persuade, and to argue in this case why the poet's girlfriend should make love to him. Valentine is the second poem I intend to study, and is by contemporary poet Carol Ann Duffy. In it she sets out to show the reader how she is rejecting the modern day notions of romantic love, and the commercialisation of it. In the poem To his coy mistress the poet is arguing with his girlfriend over why she should make love to him. He is saying that if they had all the time in the world it would not matter if she waits, but life is too short for elaborate and extended courtship, and that she should forget her false modesty and make love at once. The key feature of this poem is a man using language to persuade. Marvell presents a logical argument structured around 3 key phrases, these being, 'Had we', 'But' and 'There for' In the first part of the poem Marvell presents us with references to time and space. ...read more.

Middle

He is mocking her chastity and quaint honour, which has no value in his argument. The language in the final section of the poem concentrates on persuading his coy mistress to seize the opportunity while young. His persuasive argument concentrates on the idea that this is what she wants. The language used is very powerful, like 'Devour time' in other words to make every moment matter rather than waiting for time to control them. There are sexual images throughout; the word coyness implies sexual hesitancy. There is a double meaning in quaint honour in line 29. It means both trim and proper chastity, but there is also a reference to female sexual parts. In lines 43 and 44 there are very strong sexual over tones. Tear, rough and iron gates of life are all images of sexuality. The argument concludes with Marvell saying that he knows they cannot make time stand still, however if they join together it will place the power in their hands and they can seize the day. There is a marked difference between Andrew Marvell's seduction poem and Valentine. Carol Ann Duffy is writing from a drastically different perspective. Her poem is from the point of view of a woman who is very disillusioned with the commercialisation of love. The title Valentine is quite misleading, as it leads us to expect conventional images of loves, although the poem actually gives a cynical view of love. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poet has chosen platinum because it isn't what most people imagine wedding rings to be made of, and therefore supports how she is rejecting all the traditional gifts passed down from our ancestors. Platinum is a very plain metal but is still very valuable, this shows that the poets love is still very strong. The ring is offered with 'if you like'. This is very unromantic, but is showing the person who is being offered the onion is being given a choice. The poet uses the word 'lethal' in the poem, which would mean deadly dangerous, but most people then would think how could an onion be lethal. By this she could mean one of two things. Either that the love she is prepared to offer is so strong it could almost kill you, or that if the poet and 'You' were to get married then their love would die. The last image in the poem 'Its scent will cling to your fingers' is a lasting symbol of her love, and the word 'knife' shows that she has clearly been hurt in previous relationships. From my reading of both poems, I have notice both deal with the issue of romantic love in very different ways. Valentine try's to destroy the myth of commercial love. To his coy mistress however is trying to promote the physical side of love. The use of metaphors plays an important role in both poems as does use of poetic imagery. In my view Carol Ann Duffy seems to have a better understanding of love. ...read more.

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