The Emotional vs. the Rational: Comparion of The Nymph´s Reply to Her Shepherd and The Passionate Shephard to His Love

The Emotional vs. the Rational: Comparion of The Nymph´s Reply to Her Shepherd and The Passionate Shephard to His Love

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The Emotional versus the Rational: A Literary Analysis and Comparison between Sir Walter Raleigh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to Her Shepherd” and Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”

"Seize the day, and put the least possible trust in tomorrow"—Horace
Horace’s statement on first glance, especially in light of treatment of thematic issues related to carpe diem poetry, might have a ring of truth to it, and might appear to be a reasonable and logical statement. It puts forward the viewpoint that one should "seize the day" since "tomorrow" is uncertain. Nevertheless, one can also argue from the viewpoint that because of the fleeting nature of time, it is not reasonable to seize the day since a person's accomplishments and achievements will be forgotten amidst the quick passage of time, and will not amount to very much in the long run. This difference in perspective, as it pertains to the passage of time and the treatment of the carpe diem motif, is revealed in the poems "The Nymph's Reply to Her Shepherd" and "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"; although it can be argued that the poems share certain similarities. In fact, even though both poems are in keeping with the literary traditions, structures and themes of carpe diem, love, and pastoral poetry, Christopher Marlowe's poem upholds the traditions of carpe diem, love, and pastoral poetry while Sir Walter Raleigh's poem violates these traditions because the (female) persona within his poem mimics the imagery within Christopher Marlowe's poem in a negative and cynical tone; she seemingly mocks the reasoning behind the argument of Christopher Marlowe's (male) persona, which expresses emotionally-charged romantic ideals, while using figurative language upholding th...


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...l not last very long. Hence, Raleigh undermines the tradition of love poetry which tends to idealize all forms of love regardless of long term consequences.
In conclusion, Christopher Marlowe's poem, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" uphold the traditional associations attributed to carpe diem, pastoral and love poetry while Sir Walter Raleigh's poem, "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" undermines and violates these traditions, and allows the female persona to critique the male persona's futile and weak attempts at persuading his love interest to make love to him; in doing this, Raleigh has moved away from traditional literary conventions not only as it relates to the treatment of thematic issues related to carpe diem, pastoral, and love poetry, but empowering the female persona to providing her with a voice to respond to her male suitor's attempt to woo her.

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