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Essay on Marvell´s To His Coy Mistress and Donne´s The Flea

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Sex, sexuality, and the identity of those taking part in it are compelling in the approaches taken in Andrew Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’ and John Donne’s ‘The Flea’. Both men come about their intentions with their lovers honestly, making it clear that sex is the ultimate objective. However, both men have their own reasons for feeling the need to express their feelings for their lovers through sex. John Donne ultimately believes that the intermixing of their ‘love fluids’ to make a child will be the ultimate testament of their love. While Andrew Marvell takes the approach of the typical carpe diem poem, taking the position of a man who feels his mistress should give him sex simply because of the lack of time he has to show her his love, and his seize the day mentality. What could be more of a testament to love than love-making itself? Some would say that these men were looking out for their pleasures when persuading their lovers into the bed chamber, but really Andrew Marvell and John Donne were just terribly honest about their intentions and reasoning a man of this era would have for wanting to have sex, while using their witty dialectical arguments to get their way. The major similarity between John Donne and Andrew Marvell is the honesty in their approaches to sleeping with their lovers.
The Norton Anthology: English Literature gives a summary of John Donne’s work as follows: “John Donne’s poems abound with startling images, some of them exalting and others grotesque. With his strange and playful intelligence, expressed in puns, paradoxes, and the elaborately sustained metaphors known as ‘conceits,’ Donne has enthralled and sometimes enraged readers from his day to our own. The tired clichés of love poetry—cheeks li...


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...His Coy Mistress”, the circumstance of difficulty is the lack of time the speaker has to express his love for his lover. The expression of love through sex is clear amongst both of the poets, but the men are being honest and candid about these intentions. The reasons for wanting to express this love may be different to some, but ultimately it remains honest. The speakers in both “The Flea” and “To His Coy Mistress” do not attempt to wow or trick their lovers into bed; they make the desires of sex blunt. You can express love in many different ways, but total submission through sex is the most common. Ultimately the one thing the poets have in common through their approaches towards their goals is honesty.



Works Cited

Greenblatt, Stephan. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: the Major Authors. New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. Print.


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