Compare And Contrast The Passionate Shepherd To His Love And The Shepherd

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Denying the Ideal: The Comparison of the Speakers in
“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh both create speakers who disagree about the nature of romantic love. The titles of the twin poems, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” by Marlowe, and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” by Raleigh, show that they are two sides of a rhetorical exchange. The poems’ structures are identical; each of the shepherd’s optimistic requests has a corresponding refusal from the nymph. Although the word choice and meters are similar in the two poems, the shepherd uses an optimistic tone while the nymph uses a pessimistic one. While both speakers are addressing the concept of love, their distinct uses of diction and imagery underscore how the shepherd’s optimism conflicts with the nymph’s skepticism. In Marlowe 's poem, the romantic shepherd expresses his emotions in an idyllic setting. The title directly informs
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Although Raleigh’s title does not describe the nymph, her reply is an exercise in freedom to think for herself and express her own values. Marlowe 's poem offers no evidence that his “love” is a nymph; however, Raleigh makes the speaker a nymph who playfully mocks the shepherd’s request. Raleigh clarifies this intention by using six stanzas of four lines and the same iambic tetrameter used by Marlowe. The nymph 's choice to mirror the shepherd 's structure indicates that her “reply” is a systematic deconstruction of his argument. Mockingly, she concedes, “if all the world and love were young and truth in every shepherd’s tongue,” then she would “live with thee and be thy love”; in other words, the nymph playfully suggests that these propositions are not true. By using the same rhythm and turning the shepherd 's requests back upon themselves, the nymph echoes the shepherd 's
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