Marvell and Shakespeare

December 22, 2016 General Studies

Essay Topic: An analysis of the ideological implication of Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress”, in respect to similar themes in William Shakespeare’s Sonnets “18” and “73”.

There is an uncomfortable shallowness of the contextual nature of Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress” that in some way separates it from several of William Shakespeare’s sonnets. There is however, a statement made by Marvell that overcomes its unfortunate contextual nature and which uses certain myths concerning love and time that are also manifest in Shakespeare’s Sonnets “18” and “73”. The overriding connotations manifest in Sonnets “18” and “73” include; the mythical nature of eternal love experienced by mortal lovers (Sonnet “18”), and the reality of time as a bringer of death (Sonnet “73”). These implications are used by Marvell in “To His Coy Mistress” to effectively create an interesting theory on life and how it should be lived.

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“To His Coy Mistress” is divided into three separate sections in which a man is obviously talking to a woman. The first two parts of the poem provide descriptions of two separate worlds of opposition, creating a rather disorientating reaction. With the man devoting himself and eternity to his love in the first part, and with descriptions of their love being literally destroyed by time in the second section, there seems to be definate shock tactics being used within the narration. The intentions of the man in shocking his love seems apparent in the last section: “Let us roll all our strength and all our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life”. This descriptive proposal leaves imagery of both intimacy and penetration suggesting the physical act of love. So after narrating pleasant compliments, then horrific destruction it is obvious that the man is attempting to disorientate the woman, perhaps so as she would tend to look for intimacy with him for consolation.


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