How Do The Attitudes To Love Expressed

In The Following Poems Differ From One Another Essay, Research Paper

How Do The Attitudes To Love Expressed

In The Following Poems Differ From One Another?

The following three poems To His Coy Mistress , by Marvell, The Good Morrow , by Donne, and Sonnet 116 , by Shakespeare all tackle the theme of love. Although they are all written about the same subject, they show remarkably different approaches. Two are written from the narrator to his lover to persuade her into commitment into a sexual or loving relationship. The third gives a neutral definition of true love.

Marvell s is concerned with seizing the moment and living life to the full, and satisfying his need for sexual intercourse in his relationship. The narrator is more concerned about lust than love.

Donne s point of view comes after sex and he discusses the love between him and his lover and puts lust in his past.

Shakespeare s Sonnet 116 is slightly different as it provides the reader with a definition of ideal and true love which gives the effect of a conclusion to Donne s and Marvell s poems.

In To His Coy Mistress , the speaker, created by Marvell, is trying to get his girlfriend into bed by saying that if they had all the time in the world they could spend a lot of time together and he would really take his time over her, worshipping her as if she were sacred:

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.

Marvell clearly exaggerates the time into years, which adds to the full effect of this idea of her being worshipped upon and praised almost like a God or a priceless work of art.

At the beginning of the first section, the narrator tries to flatter her by saying:

Thou by the Indian Ganges side

should st Rubies find:

I by the Tide of Humber would complain.

Picturing her by the Indian Ganges looking for Rubies makes her sound oriental and possessing exotic beauty. He makes it sound as if he is not worthy of her exotic beauties, he being a complaining commoner.

In the second section, it is stated that the couple in fact, does not have all the time in the world:

But at my back I always hear

Times winged chariot hurrying near.

This gives the reader a dramatic image of a graceful, winged chariot coming out of the sky where clouds have partitioned to allow it through.

Thy beauty shall no more be found;

nor in, thy Marble Vault, shall sound

my echoing song: then worms shall try

That long preserv d virginity:

He says that their beauty would soon disappear and they will not be able to have sex. Sinisterly, he goes on to describe a gruesome image of worms tacking her virginity (by invading her vagina) and that at the end of her life honor will not mean a thing and that she would have wasted it. This makes it clearly obvious that the narrator is only interested in lust and does not love her at all and only wants to have sex with her. Otherwise he certainly wouldn t wish to upset and distress her with these horrific images.

Marvell uses the third section as the narrator s conclusion, voicing his thoughts on what they should do to prevent: Times winged chariot catching up with them.

He once again uses a vast array of violent images that induce pleasure in his mind:

let us sport us while we may;

And now, like am rous birds of prey,

tear our Pleasures with rough strife.

This shows that he is more interested in a wild romp like scavenging vultures, struggling to tear the flesh off an animal carcass. He gives away the fact that he doesn t want to be gentile but in fact gets pleasure from being forceful.

With these violent scenes, the narrator shows himself to be insecure and selfish.

The Good Morrow , by Donne, on the other hand, is almost a complete opposite of To His Coy Mistress . It is set after sex and features the narrator discussing the aspects of love between him and his lover, and how they should keep love constant in their relationship.

The first stanza starts with the narrator ruminating upon the past, saying that he was a bit of a playboy when he was young, only interested in the pleasure he was receiving. He was only after lust and not looking for any type of love.

He ends the first stanza using an old excuse saying that in fact, all the people he had slept with were leading him to his current girlfriend with whom he is explaining this.

He goes on to explain the trusting bond between two lovers: Which watch not one another out of feare;

By this he means that they do not watch one another making sure that the other doesn t cheat, as they trust each other. Instead they watch each other out of love and appreciation. Donne presents sincerity in his tone, and maintains it successfully throughout the whole poem. The second stanza is ended affectivity by a juxtaposition of an empty room and his love when they are together:


And makes one little roome, an everywhere.

When they are together an empty room seem like the whole world.

The third stanza is used to predict the future, which in Donne s thoughts are how they should maintain their love through mutual effort. It starts by saying that they cold almost intertwine one another and become one, when they have achieved the right formula between them:

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that non doe slacken, none can die.

He basically means that he has a great love for her and, if she loves him, equally their love would never die, as it is too magnanimous. Yet, their love must be equal for this to happen.

It is imperative to notice that Donne uses many Ifs . The poem is ended on a conditional note that itself ends on a subtle hint of insecurity. This raises a possible contradiction in the reader s mind.

Shakespeare s Sonnet 116 seems the perfect conclusion to the first two poems I have looked at. He starts off by explaining the reality to the reader, saying that true love has no obstacles and that if it changes it is not true. When one person takes away love it is lost altogether. The sixth and seventh lines are used by Shakespeare to say that everyone needs true love and that it guides us. He compares this to a ship s use of the Northern Star:

Love s not Time s fool through rosy lips and cheeks

This sentence is used to show that true love goes on and doesn t die with beauty.

Shakespeare ends the poem:

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

In modern words this means, If I am wrong, I never wrote this, and a man has never been in love. By this he forces the notion that he is right, because the reader knows that he has written this poem and that men have been in love before.

To His Coy Mistress , by Marvell did not seem at all persuasive. The narrator s true character is shown by the gruesome details. Although Marvell s writing does a very good job of bringing out the true narrators intentions.

The Good Morrow by Donne, was much more persuasive than Marvell s. It would be interesting to know how long he has known his lover for, because he is leading her up to a huge commitment.

Sonnet 116 , by Shakespeare is an altogether different approach and gives the ideal meaning of true love. Its examples are well compared to true happenings, and the distances used to show its importance. He almost contemptuously ends it by saying that he is absolutely correct.


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