A Comparison between To His Coy Mistress and Sonnet 116 Essays

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A Comparison between To His Coy Mistress and Sonnet 116

The poem "To His Coy Mistress" was written in the mid 17th century by
Andrew Marvell, being written in this time Marvell's poem was unable
to be published as its taboo content was unfavoured by the puritans in
power at the time. Whereas "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare was
written in the late 16th century, a time of liberation and freedom for
the stage and literature.

Both poems are similar in theme and yet different in approach, they
both pursue the theme of love although Marvell in a satirical Carpe
Diem love style whereas Shakespeare in a traditional sonnet style.

"To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell is about a young mans attempts
to lure a woman into bed the true theme of the poem being more lust
than love, the poem is in fact a parody of Carpe Diem love poetry and
critiques the approach of an over eager young lover. "Sonnet 116"
takes a more serious approach to the theme of love addressing the
concept of eternal love "love alters not with his brief hours and
weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom".

The voice of the two poems also changes dramatically with Marvell
there is an eager young lover willing to change tactics often in order
achieve his goal. The voice is fickle and immature it evokes little
sympathy from the reader and has rather a comic tone to it, this comic
tone is highlighted by the fact that the poem is written in an iambic
rhythm with four heavy stresses generally a rhythm used for comic
value as it short and snappy allowing just the right amount of time
for punnery and wit this effect is backed up by the poems rhyming
couplets generally a rhythm used for comic value as it has a light
tone to it.


... middle of paper ...

merely a victim in a constant struggle to keep righteousness alive and
if winning is impossible then better to lose a lot than a little
"Thus, though we cannot make our Sun Stand still, yet we will make him

Shakespeare also ends on a rhyming couplet though this modest couplet
is to lighten the serious tone "If this be error and upon me proved, I
never writ, nor no man ever loved." though Shakespeare stresses that
unless love is timeless and priceless and infallible it is nonexistent
for Shakespeare believes there are no half measures in love.

I personally enjoyed both poems though I preferred William
Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116" as I feel the more serious classic approach
to love makes more enjoyable reading, although the comic approach of
Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" was entertaining it did become
quite tedious after a while.

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