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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.

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  1. The Majority or poetry is written about love, relationships and lust and this is simply because it's such an important factor of life.

    Andrew Marvell is cunning in his approach to the poem as it has a protective shell, on the outside it is covered with adoration and he pours his heart out to her. However on the inside the shell is filled with distasteful and vile material such as "then worms shall try that long preserved virginity, which is clearly saying that is she dies a virgin the worms will literally take her virginity. I believe he almost tries using it as reverse psychology to coax her into bed with him.

    • Word count: 1886
  2. 'To his coy mistress' and 'Come. And be my baby' are both love poems. Which do you consider to be more effective in conveying its message and why?

    There is hardly any contrast between the methods used, as this is the standard basis for most poems trying to create persuasive text. In the first stanza of `Come. And be my baby.` Maya Angelou presents a picture of humans going no where fast in life by using the personification "The highway is full of big cars going no where fast." She then continues on with the negative approach, stating that people everywhere are ruining their lives by abusing alcohol and drugs, "folk is smoking anything that will burn," suggesting drugs and "people wrap their lives around a cocktail glass."

    • Word count: 1349
  3. Compare and contrast 'a woman to her lover' and 'to his coy mistress'.

    In 'A woman to her lover' the first three verses are the things that the woman says she will not do and things she will not be. These are to be a mother, a servant, an angel who is perfect and a saintly or a sexual object. Whereas in 'To his coy mistress' the man is telling the person he loves that she is. He finds he behaviour, as being shy but flirtatious, makes her more attractive to him. He also implies that the time is running out with phrases such as 'had we world enough, and time' and 'times winged chariot hurrying near.'

    • Word count: 736
  4. Over many years poetry was seen to have many different uses.

    There are many more styles that writers can use or adapt within their particular techniques, but those are the most commonly used by poets especialy for persuasion. When it comes to classing a poem you can only class a poem from beeing a Metophysical or Classical poem. The two classifications are very different to each otherin their own ways. A Classical poem is a very polite poem containing lines which rhyme or posses the property of consistant beats with each other and have a very soothing pattern.

    • Word count: 1465
  5. To His Coy Mistress.

    Another way in which the poem follows a progressive pattern is how Marvell varies and develops the tone and moods created by the speaker in each verse. By using three different moods in the verses, the poet brings an emotional climax to the conclusion of the poem, as well as adding impact to his persuasion of his mistress. The first verse starts with a very relaxed, soothing tone, to draw his mistress into his argument. The second moves into a foreboding, fearful tone, to terrify or scare her, and is then followed by the simultaneous re-assurance and fierce determination of the conclusion.

    • Word count: 2988
  6. Compare and contrast John Donne's 'The Flea' and Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'; Deciding which you feel is the most seductive.

    Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" is a first person narrative, addressing his love to his mistress directly. It is structured in three stanzas, each showing constant progression and containing an octosyllabic rhyme scheme of AABB rhyming couplets. These in turn set a fast pace to the poem. Furthermore, Marvell's elaborate ideas are used in conjunction with the rhyming couplets in order to confuse and rush his mistress into a decision; "For, Lady, you deserve this State, Now would I love at lower rate." This structure is similar to that of Donne's poem "The Flea" which is also structured as three stanzas each showing progression.

    • Word count: 2368
  7. In this essay I am going to compare two metaphysical poems; 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell and 'The Flea' by John Dunne.

    Both the poems have three stanzas. The poem will also include the nature in which love is described; the contrast within them, the grotesque images, the wit, irony and I will also include the characteristics of the poems. For Example: simile, metaphor, conceit, hyperbole and personification, which will be in the poems and will be described in the essay. Marvell set his poem in Hull, England. This is where he grew up. We can see the setting because he speaks of the river in Hull "I by the tide Of Humber would complain.

    • Word count: 1183
  8. A comparison of two poems about love.

    He uses imagery to charm her, believing her to be coy- shy modest. He uses the image of skin as sexy. He also makes crude but flattering remarks and shows her that she is, in a way, in control of the situation. 'Our Love Now' is made up of alternate statements made by two people about their failing relationship. The man has a rather more hopeful attitude towards their relationship, looking to the future to find healing for whatever has happened, whilst the woman is less hopeful, focusing on the 'now', the present, and taking a less positive view of the future.

    • Word count: 1106
  9. Comparing 'The Sun Rising' and 'To His Coy Mistress'.

    This is in contrast to Marvell's poem. The character portrayed in the poem feels pressured by time as he is yet to sleep with his lover. He begins the poem with a conditional, already rushing her. He continues to rush the lady throughout the poem and even uses images of death to threaten her, for example 'the grave's a fine and private place'. This troubles him as he wants to have sex with her whilst she is still young but she continues with her shy but teasingly flirtatious 'coyness'.

    • Word count: 1097
  10. The two poems I have chosen for my English coursework are 'A Woman to Her Lover.' and 'To His Coy Mistress.'

    In 'A Woman to Her Lover' the first three verses are the things that the woman says she will not be and things she will not do which are to be a mother, a servant, an angel who is perfect and saintly or a sexual object. Whereas in 'To His Coy Mistress' the man is telling the person he loves what she is, which is beautiful, and what she is doing which is being shy but flirtatious which makes her more attractive to him but also he is implying that time is running out with phrases such as 'Had we world enough, and time,' and 'Times winged chariot hurrying near.'

    • Word count: 687
  11. Compare and contrast the ways in which the poets' choice of form, language and setting help to convey ideas about the relationships between men and women and the role of woman in societies which are depicted in the poems you have studied.

    From this I can say that all these poets seem to have different views of love. Browning portrays love as a somewhat detrimental thing in My Last Duchess. The Duke's view of his wife is that she is too na�ve and candid. Because she is socially inferior to him, he tries to change the person that she is but this results in her death - "Then the smiles stopped all together." The poem is too ambiguous, I would say, to make a decision about whether the Duke ordered her to be killed or not but metaphorically he did kill her by ordering her to stop being so nice to everyone.

    • Word count: 1853
  12. Two of the poems in 'Best Words' are 'seduction poems', rather than love poems - These are 'To his coy mistress' by Andrew Marvell and 'The Flea' by John Donne - Compare these two poems

    It is evident that love is not a key feature of the poet's relationship. It's more like a balancing act of power between them. Their mistress refuses to succumb to the poet's advantages, which lets her be in control. However soon she relates, the poet's argument is then successful. This balancing act of power has then been further complicated in Donne's 'The flea' where it is not simply a care of bedding his lady. Donne is more conserved about his intellectual powers, when he says, 'Cruel and sudden, hast thou since'.

    • Word count: 1632
  13. When Time was forgotten.

    This week though was even more ridiculous, the Jackpot was a staggering $40 billion. And that is where our story begins. It's Friday night for Andrew Smyth. A time when families come together, have a nice meal and sit in front of the television to watch the Universal Lotto. Each member of the Smyths' sits patiently to see if the dream will become a reality. The Jackpot total appears. "Wow! $40 Billion" thought Andrew. Granny Smyth fainted because it was so much. The family helped her whilst Andrew was waiting for the big numbers to appear on the screen.

    • Word count: 1416
  14. Compare (find the similarities) and contrast (find the differences) between the poetic techniques of Herrick and Marvell to achieve their intentions in "To the Virgins…" and "To his Coy Mistress".

    Similarly, in the same way, Herrick is demonstrating to all women that their times will run short when he metaphorically compares the passing of time to the setting of the sun in the line, 'And nearer he's to setting.' Both poets are proving that their intentions are justified because time really is of the essence and death is 'hurrying near.' The way in which the themes of each piece, which happen to be very similar, are articulated by the different poets readily reflects their stance on the poem and involvement in it.

    • Word count: 1592
  15. Compare and contrast Marvel's "to his coy mistress" and Dunne's "the sun rising".

    So the poem is kind of a logical argument set out in 3 stages. The first of these parts explains what they would do if they if they had all the time in the world. He flatters her he talks of spending "a hundred years" to praise her eyes. He uses extremeness to explain his poison to her; he talks of her standing by the "Ganges" and him by the "Humber". Marvel also uses hyperboles for flattery and to show how much he loves her " my vegetable love will grow vaster than empires".

    • Word count: 792
  16. Comparison: 'To his coy mistress' and 'Lay your sleeping head my love'.

    Yet on a deeper level they are very different in both the language and the style of writing. To his coy mistress is a highly persuasive piece of writing that tries to persuade the woman to go against what she fundamentally believes in while lay your sleeping head my love is more of a softly romantic poem showing more gentleness and compassion of love as well as not quite being as harsh as His coy mistress, I believe that this difference in styles has a strong connection to do with the times in which they were written that certain things which may have been taboo at times become acceptable and vice versa.

    • Word count: 695
  17. How does Thomas Wyatt describe his feelings towards the woman in the poem 'They Flee From Me'? (By Sana Kanji).

    This doubt is reinforced further towards the end of the verse, as the word 'danger' implies that the connection between the creatures and the bread provider denotes an insinuation of threat. In addition, the echo of 'danger' in the words 'range' and 'change' at the end of the verse, does not permit the reader to omit the hint of threat. Nonetheless, in the second verse, the reader is made to concentrate on a more specific scene. Further, we realise that the 'They' in the first verse also appear to be associated with the 'she' in the second stanza.

    • Word count: 866
  18. Andrew Marvell was a poet and an MP for Hull.

    He mentions religion so that he can make her believe what he is saying. In lines 11-12, the speaker states that his: My vegetable love should grow vaster than empires and more slow; 'My vegetable love' is a metaphor. This growth would eventually overtake empires bigger than those of the Romans. Thus his love is big enough to fill time and space. It is also a metaphor. He would spend so much time adoring her. However in the second stanza he writes about death. The argument in this section is based on the fact that people do not have the kind of time span that the speaker imagines in the first section.

    • Word count: 638
  19. Would You Categorise 'To His Coy Mistress' (Andrew Marvell) as a Metaphysical or a Classical Poem?

    They are brief but intense meditations, characterized by striking use of wit, irony and wordplay. Beneath the formal structure (of rhyme, metre and stanza) is the underlying (and often hardly less formal) structure of the poem's argument. Note that there may be two (or more) kinds of argument in a poem. In To His Coy Mistress the explicit argument (Marvell's request that the coy lady yield to his passion) is a stalking horse for the more serious argument about the transitoriness of pleasure. The outward levity conceals (barely) a deep seriousness of intent. You would be able to show how this theme of carpe diem ("seize the day")

    • Word count: 2214
  20. The main differences between poems are described by Metaphysical and Classical.

    The poem is very much more in use of words that show the women in which the poem is talking about as being a goddess as I said earlier; this seems to play a large part in the poem. Another poem which is also very Carpe Diem is, to the virgins, to make much of time, this poem uses irregular (starvea) stress' and unstressed' words, but does have a regular amount of feet throughout the poem. The poem seems to be stating to a woman that she should not wait at all and get married in her youth when she

    • Word count: 978
  21. Compare and contrast 'The Ruined Maid', 'To His Coy Mistress' and 'Remember'.

    To His Coy Mistress" follows a classical argument and a form of persuasion. He begins by outlining how things would be if everything were perfect, then moves on to pointing out the stark reality of the situation before drawing a logical conclusion to persuade her over to his point of view. In contrast to 'Remember', 'Remember' has a structure of love and she wants to be remembered and not forgotten but with sad side to the poem. The poem is based on the theme of love, loss and remembrance.

    • Word count: 1881
  22. Compare The Treatment Of The Themes Of Love And Time In The poems To His Coy Mistress And Sonnet 18.

    When Shakespeare writes his he describes and praises his lover. This lover is to be found as a young man. Compared to Shakespeare, Marvell's poem is based around his lover. He is creating an image of her but not describing her. Shakespeare is trying to show that his lover is out of anyone's reach, Marvell doesn't get this point across to the reader. In sonnet 18 one part reads, 'thy eternal summer shall not fade'. This shows that his lover, who was a young man is not going to go and will always be there for him.

    • Word count: 1207
  23. The Secret Life Of ... Andrew Walker.

    When he got to his room after walking down long, thin corridors he had trouble getting the key into the lock. Eventually he managed to open it. As he walked in he slammed the door closed and the force of this made the frame rattle. Andrew tried to drown his sorrows with alcohol but he had only managed to drink a quarter of a bottle of whiskey when there was a thundering knock at the door. Andrew managed to stagger to the door and let the vicious person in.

    • Word count: 1534
  24. Compare the presentation of love and women in Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress' and John Keats 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'.

    'La Belle Dan Sans Merci' by Keats again is a romantic piece, and the title give a clue as to what the piece is about as it directly translates to 'The beautiful lady without mercy' so this is quite the opposite to Marvell's poem as in this the Woman of his desire has power, and he believes in chivalry and treating a lady with respect. Marvell uses a metaphysical combination of strong ideals and complex intellectual ideas to bring across his strong feelings, "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime."

    • Word count: 595
  25. Explore how Browning and Marvell present the theme of Obsession in 'Porphyria's Lover' and 'To His Coy Mistress'.

    The relationship seems somewhat of a secret or an affair and the use of the weather again seems to suggest it, when she is walking to his house in the terrible storm it says that the wind "tore the elm-tops down for spite". The idea of it being an affair is backed up later on, "From pride, and vainer ties dissever", "Passion sometimes would prevail". This is suggesting that she has another, higher-class relationship or a marriage but that lacks the passion she gets with this lover, and that she is ashamed to be seen with him., this would explain her travelling to his house during an obviously terrible storm.

    • Word count: 2229

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