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GCSE: Andrew Marvell

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Top tips for writing about Andrew Marvell's poetry.

  1. 1 Marvell was born in 1621 in Yorkshire, England. He studied at the University of Cambridge and whilst he was there begun to publish his first poetry, which was written in Latin and Greek. He died in London in 1678.
  2. 2 Marvell was a metaphysical poet (a group of English poets from the 17th century) and was interested in metaphysical concerns. This meant he thought about the world in a rational way rather than in relation to mystery or intuition.
  3. 3 Marvell’s poems, like other metaphysical poets, often had some of these characteristics:

    Often very witty and enjoyed using original metaphors,
    Often presented a subtle argument,
    Often wrote about issues of the time, or satires,
    T.S. Eliot said their work fused passion with reason.
  4. 4 Although the attitudes and values expressed in his poems may seem like Marvell’s ideas, it is important to recognise that the poet is not the narrator, even when the poem is written in first person.

Writing about Marvell's poetry

  1. 1 The perspective, tone and register of narrator is a good place to start analysis. Remember that these can differ within poems.
  2. 2 Titles, openings and endings can be a good way to analyse the poems.
  3. 3 Look for patterns and oppositions (or lack of) that emerge.
  4. 4 Consider effects of poetic techniques, for example use of imagery or phonological devices (to do with sounds). Marvell enjoyed using metaphor and hyperbole.
  5. 5 Consider the effects of structure (e.g. number of verses, rhythm, rhyme etc.) and form as well as language. For example, Marvell structures To His Coy Mistress as a logical argument, contributing to the persuasive message of the poem.

Things to remember when writing essays

  1. 1 All essays should be well planned with clear points. This will help to create a structured essay.
  2. 2 Introductions should clearly show they are answering the question Each paragraph should ideally begin with a topic sentence which addresses the question, evidence from the poem/s to support the point (with quotes embedded), and detailed analysis using technical terminology. This can be known as P.E.E (Point, Evidence, Explain).
  3. 3 If relevant, some contextual information about Marvell, metaphysical poetry and the 17th century might contribute to an analytical response.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 4
  1. The two poems which I am comparing are by Andrew Marvell and John Donne whom are both metaphysical poets from different backgrounds. The poet John Donne is the probably the greatest metaphysical poet, he was born in 1572 in Bread Street

    His father, a well-off ironmonger suddenly died in 1576 (just four years after Donne was born); consequently leaving three children with his wife Elizabeth (daughter of John Heywood). Later on Donne and his younger brother Henry were entered into Hart Hall, University of Oxford. Donne studied at Oxford for three years and then left to study at Cambridge for another three years; but he never managed to do a degree at either because he refused to take the 'oath of supremacy' which immobilized a lot of Catholics from graduating.

    • Word count: 4901
  2. Men and their desperate acts for sex in the 17th century with reference to; "The Beggar Woman" by William King, and "To his Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvel

    what they could achieve in their relationship if they had sufficient time. We have all heard the expression, 'all the time in the world'. But, you may have also heard someone say, 'Hurry up! You're acting as if you had all the time in the world'. That's what the male is referring to in the first line of the poem. He says, "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime." This basically translates to if they had all the time in the world, then her shyness would not matter to them.

    • Word count: 3119
  3. Compare 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell with 'Sonnet 138' by William Shakespeare. Do they present love in similar ways? How sincere do they seem to you?

    The third stage is the 'therefore' stage. This is concluding the argument saying so we must go and get on with it. The first stage is saying if we had enough time, I could spend all the ages of this world loving you and flattering you until you were content. I would spend all my life giving you everything you deserve and you could be in one place and me in another, but it wouldn't matter as time will never run out and we will always be in love.

    • Word count: 4405
  4. Beggar Woman and To His Coy Mistress.

    Obviously, this shows his view on women; that they're there to be used at men's pleasure. His situation as the end, to the gentleman's horror, is that he is left with the baby. This is totally unexpected as the gentleman didn't expect it, as did the audience. This is because the entire time, we are led to believe that the woman was in control, as for a period we are convince that she is a prostitute, as she knows of a quiet place, "I know of an unfrequented place". So, from this moment on, the reader is lead to think that the gentleman is in control, but right at the end we realise she is the clever one.

    • Word count: 4570
  5. Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) and Christina Walsh (1750-1800?) Poetry comparison

    Marvell takes for granted that his continual complimentary verse will be sufficient to win over his mistress. Walsh's lover on the other hand is offering a permanent union and would appear to be a person prepared to compromise on her demands. To generally sum up each poem with a very brief description it's clear that Walsh's is mainly based on strong feminist ideas and that Marvell's is focused on being effectively persuasive, although both poems also incorporate the poet's desires, feelings and thoughts.

    • Word count: 4553
  6. "To his coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell and "Funeral Blues" by W.H Auden explore the themes of love and loss. Examine how each poet approaches these themes and compare how the achieve their intended objective.

    no crime, but this is not the case, stressing his awareness that their time is limited. He moves on to use alliteration and repetition to again extend the feeling of time He does this by repeating the word 'and' and with the use of alliteration in "long love's day." In stressing the time, he is also expressing his love for his mistress, "Thou by the Indian Ganges' side, Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide of Humber would complain." India was thought to be a very rich and exotic country, along with this he uses imagery of Ganges, to show his love what she means to him and to suggest geographical distance.

    • Word count: 3211
  7. How persuasive do you find ' To his Coy Mistress' and ' To the virgins, to make much of time'?

    I think this is very good persuasive technique because it shows he has honour for her and that he has respect. Even though my opinion would be very different to that of the 17th century Mistress I would find this very appealing. Marvell tries to persuade the mistress by using many references to love and passion, ' To walk, and pass our long Loves Day,' Marvell has purposely chosen long syllables here which drags out the sentence, it is as if their love for one another would become an eternal day, their love would never end.

    • Word count: 3554
  8. The Metaphysical Poets: John Donne and Andrew Marvell.

    The flood is a metaphor for the period of time when she was to come into his life. From line 11 onwards Marvell is complimenting her beauty using metaphors to help assimilate her wondrous splendour and beauty. The metaphor that he uses is time, for example from line 13 to18 he says, and I quote, "An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze, Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart..." At the start of the second stanza he interrupts his praises and adorations, saying that he has no time to be complimenting and romancing her.

    • Word count: 4273
  9. Murder Mystery

    Rachel had never quite recovered from finding out about it because she had been with Andrew for five years and it came as a pretty huge shock. Rachel had met Steve in a pub when she was chatting with Andrews younger brother Rob, Steve was his best mate. Steve was younger than Rachel by two years, he worked as a chef in a restaurant in the town. He was quite muscular built with short, black, tight curly hair and gorgeous dark eyes.

    • Word count: 8388
  10. What are the main characteristics of the metaphysical poets? (With reference to ‘The Flea’, ‘The Apparition’ and ‘To His Coy Mistress’)

    Marvell died on the 16th August 1678 of tertian argue, and the negligence of the attending physician. He was buried in the church of St. Giles-in-the-fields. John Donne was born in the Bread Street, London in 1572 to a prosperous Roman Catholic family, a precarious thing at a time when anti catholic sentiment was rife in England. His mother, Elizabeth Heywood, was the daughter of John Haywood the writer, who had married Sir Thomas More's niece. So he was already born into a background of literacy.

    • Word count: 3881
  11. Examine the ways in which the poets in “The Flea” and “To His Coy Mistress” try to persuade their mistresses.

    The flea is the subject of much of what the poet talks about, and the imagery used is interesting. He uses the flea to convince his mistress of his love for her, and to persuade her to have sex with him. In "To His Coy Mistress" there is no one object used to symbolise the love, but interesting and significant imagery is used often, and to great effect. Different images are used to persuade the poet's mistress that to sleep with him would be a good thing.

    • Word count: 4910

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare and Contrast 'To his Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell with 'To his Mistress going to bed' by John Donne.

    "In conclusion I found both Donne's and Marvell's poetry quite amusing and in some ways comical, I say this for the reason that, you wouldn't find many men writing love letters and poems to the girl they may adore or even love nowadays, because over time or even five centuries, people change, peoples' habits change and so do the way of their love life. However, as a female, I still find a love letter or even a poem, is far more affectionate than a box of chocolates ever could be, and I also believe that behind every successful man is a woman, as Donne and Marvell have marked their places in history by writing about the mysterious mistress that they fell in love with, and we're reading about in the 21st century."

  • The two poems that I have chosen to compare are, 'To His Coy Mistress' and 'Our Love Now'.

    "Even though these poems were written at very different times, they still have things in common. In both poems the man is trying to convince the woman of something, whether it be the make love with him or to carry on her relationship with him. In 'To His Coy Mistress' the man complements the woman and puts forward a well-constructed argument. In 'Our Love Now' the man compares different aspects of their relationship to different things. The main difference between the two poem is that I 'To His Coy Mistress' we do not find out the woman's reply to the argument but in 'Our Love Now' we find out that his argument is not successful and the woman ends her relationship with him. Alex Warham English"

  • Compare the theme of seduction in "To his coy mistress" and "The seduction"

    "In conclusion it is clear that both are poems are about a man seducing a woman in the hope that she will sleep with him. I believe the biggest difference between the poems is to do with the date when they were written. Both time eras had completely different attitudes to sex, which is why the men go about a different way to seduce the women The poem that I find more persuasive and effective is "THCM" because the man actually loved the lady "I would love you ten years before the flood" and his intentions were slightly more pure it seems, compared to the man in "the seduction" who simply took advantage of the woman and didn't care for her one bit. I also think that it is very cleverly written and is interesting how each stanza represents a different time frame."

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