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

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With close reference to the two poems which you have studied, show how the poets have approached the theme of romantic love. In your response, you should refer to: 1) The poets' use of language, style and imagery. 2) Your personal response. For this assignment, I have chosen to analyse two contrasting poems. The first poem is "To His Coy Mistress" which was written in1650 by the English poet Andrew Marvell, and it is surprising how modern the subject matter is. This poem uses language to persuade the poet's mistress into shedding her coyness. The second poem, "Valentine" by the contemporary poet Carol Ann Duffy sets out to show how the poet casts aside the traditional artificial values of love, to place instead her own truthful picture of love. "To His Coy Mistress" is a classic seductive poem, a carpe diem poem, in which the poet expresses his sadness at the thought of time swiftly passing by and the brevity of love. It comes across as a private meditation, giving a persuasive argument to his mistress, relating to the passage of time and the fading of earthly joys. In the first part of the poem, Marvell presents us with images of time and space. He tells his mistress what they could achieve in their relationship if they had sufficient time. "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness Lady, were no crime." ...read more.


The language in the final section of the poem concentrates on persuading the coy mistress to seize the opportunity while she is still young to make love with him. "thy willing soul transpires, At every pore with instant fires," His persuasive argument, concentrates on the fact that she needs to give into her desire. Speaking of her 'willing soul', implies that she is really as interested in sex as he is. However in the 17th century, 'willing' could also mean full of 'will' or energy so that lines could simply mean 'full of the energy of youth' Marvell now proposes that, "Now let us sport us while we may; And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapped power." The word 'sport' doesn't sound very serious to us but in the 17th century, its meaning was closer to 'energetic exercise'. Marvell is using powerful language to cement his argument in this section of the poem; they should "devour" time, making use of every moment rather than letting time take the upper hand. The image of the ball, "Let us roll all our strength and all our sweetness up into one ball", symbolises the unification of the two of them coming together- the ball contains all their strength and sweetness. This is echoed, when in the final couplet, Marvell expresses how they could outrun the sun together. ...read more.


However, she does not let her lover forget that even when you are in love, there is no escape from hurt. Love still brings blindness and "tears". Although their relationship seems to be perfect, there is no escape from the inevitable. After studying the way in which the two poets, Andrew Marvell and Carol Ann Duffy approached the topic of love, it would seem clear to me that the word "love", can be used to cover a vast area of feelings and emotions for another person. In "To His Coy Mistress", Andrew Marvell sets out to crush his mistress's morals with his argument regarding Time. It could be said Marvell was not as concerned with the psychological side of love as he was with the physical side. On the other hand, in "Valentine", Carol Ann Duffy sets out to cast aside any traditional connotations associated with love in order to implement her own meditations regarding the true values of love. In my opinion, Carol Ann Duffy appears to have a better grasp of understanding regarding the value of true love, as in order to have a good relationship, it is first necessary to understand the person as a separate entity and to realise that it is necessary to always look at things under a true light. When observed under artificial light, so many minor details can be missed which in the long term could prove fatal. Harvey Allen 5P ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

A well articulated essay demonstrating excellent knowledge and understanding of the poems. A clearly structured analysis is consistently employed (Point, Evidence, Analysis) and some interesting and relevant contextual references are included. To improve, the writer might like to make more focused references to the question to ensure the essay does not read like a chronological analysis with no argument/focus. Although not a comparative essay ('compare' is not in the question) another more sophisticated approach might have been to integrate the analysis of the two poems throughout. Some attention could also have been paid to Marvell's use of structure. Overall, a very good essay.


Marked by teacher Lucy Snell 18/03/2012

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