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

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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 by analysing: -

  • Each poets intention
  • Form of the poem
  • Language used in the poem
  • Your reaction to the unromantic poems.

        Different poets have explored the theme of love in many ways and ideas, since mankind happened. For example, Shakespeare wrote many famous love sonnets. He looked at and examined different parts of love. This enabled him to write them. Where as other poets have written poems with different forms and structure on their points of views and relationships. In my essay I intend to compare the similarities and differences in two different poems. They are, ‘To his coy mistress’ by Andrew Marvell which is about time and ‘The Flea’ by John Donne.

        Firstly one similarity between Marvell’s ‘To his coy mistress’ and Donne’s ‘The Flea’ they both have the same intention of seducing their mistress. This is shown by ‘oh stay, thee lives in one flea spare’ and ‘and now, like amorous birds of prey. 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’. This quotation has revealed that Donne sees that his act of seduction being prefaced by a battle of wits. But his mistress reveals to him with her skills. As she argues back, ‘Find’st not thyself nor me the weaker now’. Despite this rally Donne tries to win the argument by saying, ‘Just so much honour, when thou yield’s to/ will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.’

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        Although both poet’s intention is the same to seduce their mistress, there is a subtle difference between the two poems. We know this because he says in, ‘To his coy mistress’, Marvell states, ‘Had we but would enough, and time.’ Line 1. This is showing me that the poet is trying to say to his mistress that they have a life together and time is what they have. But the poet knows they haven’t got time on their side. So time isn’t everything that they have together.

         Secondly the similarities between Marvell’s ‘To his coy mistress’ and Donne’s ‘The flea’ ...

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