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Compare The Ways In Which Shakespeare And Marvell Have Used Poetic Form, Structure And Language To Present Their Thoughts And Feelings Of Love

2204 words - 9 pages

Compare the ways in which Shakespeare and Marvell have used poetic form, structure and language to present their thoughts and feelings of love
Both Shakespeare and Marvell present a vast array of thoughts and feelings regarding love. Shakespeare makes his true thoughts and feelings apparent through a declaration in ‘Sonnet 116’ by stating how love cannot be shaken by adversary or changed by time. However, in Marvell’s ‘To his Coy Mistress’ the speaker is more impatient, presenting a sense of carnal desire to fulfil his sexual desires rather than true love. Where Shakespeare is influenced by the concept of romantic love in the Elizabethan era and follows traditional sonnet formats to create ...view middle of the document...

The marriage described in this poem is not a formal contract; rather, it is a "marriage of true minds," a phrase that suggests a deep understanding between two equals, rather than a legal bond. In Shakespeare’s time, marriage was far from an association between two equally powerful and independent people; women were basically surrendered into the control of their husbands when they got married. The relationship that Sonnet 116 discusses certainly does not conform to this conventional view of marriage. Instead of talking about the importance of obedience or subservience in married life, it focuses on faithfulness, forgiveness, and equality in any loving relationship. This is emphasised when the reader is told what love is through the use of a metaphor in the second quatrain: a guiding star to a lost ship, which is not susceptible to storms as it ‘looks on tempests and is never shaken’. The worth of a star to sailors is immeasurable and the idea of ships following an ever fixed point is indicative of the everlasting and unchanging nature of love. More specifically in the third quatrain, the reader is told what love is not. Though beauty fades in time as rosy lips and cheeks, ‘within his bending sickle’s compass comes’, shows that love does not change with the passage of time, the use of alliteration to bring home the idea of passing time is present in the harsh "c" sounds which mimic the ticking of a clock in an onomatopoeic way. What gives the poem its emotional power is not its complexity, but through the force of its emotional conviction that is seen through the ordered structure that doesn’t divert, highlighting that love is unbreakable; this adds to the predominant tone of sincerity. By way of contrast, Marvell’s ‘To his Coy Mistress’ outlines clear turns in the personas argument to persuade his ‘Coy Mistress’ to loose her virginity to him. The first two lines describe how he would love her if they weren’t encumbered by the constraints of a normal lifespan. ‘Had we but world enough, and time, / This coyness, lady, were no crime,’ The overuse of commas shows how he wants to delay time and is indicative of a whimsical tone of regret because he can’t. He suggests that his lady’s coyness is not a crime because he loves her; however, this has a counter affect, as her coyness is a crime because they don’t have eternity. He states from the outset that eternal love is impossible, thus undermining his opening statement. Arguably Marvell is creating an ironic statement of sexual seduction with the use of hyperbolic references to traditional romance; ‘Two hundred to adore each breast’ which is more superficial as it is limited only to a physical attraction rather than an emotional one. It also makes the opening more persuasive rather than romantic knowing it is an exaggerated fantasy. The idea of carnal desire is further explored in stanza two as the speaker reverses his logic and points out that time is limited. Imagery of death and decay is portrayed...

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