17th Century Seduction Poems Are Relevant In The 21st Century

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During the 17th century, certain poets wrote poems with the specific purpose of persuading a woman to have sexual intercourse with them. Three of these seduction poems utilize several strategies to do this: Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” and Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” and “The Flea.” Some of the reasoning used by both poets is similar to the reasoning used today by men to convince women to have sexual intercourse with them. These gimmicks vary from poem to poem but coincide with modern day rationalization. The tactics used in 17th century seduction poems are relevant and similar to the seduction tactics used in the 21st century.
Through his writing, Andrew Marvell uses several strategies to get a woman to sleep with him. In his seduction poem, “To His Coy Mistress,” Marvell first presents a problem and then offers his solution to the problem. Marvell sets up a situation in which he and his lover are on opposite sides of the world: “Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side/ Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide/ Of Humber would complain….” (5-7). He has set up a circumstance in which his lover is in India and he is in England; however, this situation can be interpreted as a metaphor for sexual distance. Marvell then goes on to profess his love for this woman, telling her that he will always love her, saying “...I would/ Love you ten years before the flood” (7-8) and saying that his “vegetable love should grow/ Vaster than empires and more slow” (11). This suggests that he is promising permanence in their relationship. In doing so, Marvell is also trying to pacify his lady’s fears of sexual relations. He wants his lover to feel secure and confident about having intercourse with him.
In the second stanza, Marvell turns his attention to another “problem” that his lover might pose by not sleeping with him. He writes, “But at my back I always hear/ Times winged chariot hurrying near” (21-22). Marvell is concerned about death in this situation. He is now pleading to his woman because he feels threatened by time. He tells her that time is running out and that they had better sleep together before it is too late. Marvell solidifies this argument a few lines later by presenting the idea of death and the fact that they can not have sexual intercourse once they are dead. He writes, “The grave’s a fine and private place/ But none, I think, do there embra...

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...l love, like Marvell in “His Coy Mistress,” is still used to get women in bed. It makes them feel secure in a relationship, which in turn makes them more likely to have sex with their partner. Building up the relationship, like Donne in “A Valediction: forbidden Mourning,” will also make a woman feel secure in a relationship in modern times by establishing dependability; it also romanticizes the relationship. If a woman feels she is being swept off her feet by Prince Charming, she will be more likely to get in bed. Allaying a woman’s fears will also convince her to consent to sex, much like in Donne’s first stanza of “The Flea.” He reassures his woman that sex is not a big deal. These days sex really has become quite inconsequential and men do not have difficulty pointing that out to a woman they are trying to sleep with. Generally, many of the basic ideas expressed in 17th century poetry are similar to those presented today in relationships. Making excuses, finding arguments, allaying fears, and professing true love are all still utilized to speed along the occurrence of sexual relations.

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