Analysis of Donne's The Bait and Marlowe's Passionate Shepherd to His Lover

Analysis of Donne's The Bait and Marlowe's Passionate Shepherd to His Lover

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Love, an extremely and unsurprisingly popular topic among writers in every time period and corner of the world, is the central subject of two similar, yet contradicting literary works – “The Passionate Shepard to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe and “The Bait” by John Donne, respectively. Each author masterfully utilizes imagery, but in different ways to achieve two different purposes. Marlowe’s idealistic vision of what love should be is countered by Donne’s rather cynical realism.
Both works begin with an identical first line that is followed by a line that Donne alters from Marlowe’s original line. The change seems subtle yet it contains thematically significant meaning. Marlowe’s second line reads “…and we will all the pleasures prove…” while Donne slightly changes the latter of the two – “…and we will some new pleasures prove…” The discontinuity lies in the wording as Marlowe fails to recognize the negatives connected with relationships. Donne acknowledges these hardships, replacing Marlowe’s extreme word choice - “all” to “some”. The alteration provides a more realistic approa...

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