Comparison of How John Donne and Andrew Marvell Present Death in Poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X

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Comparison of How John Donne and Andrew Marvell Present Death in Poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X

In the poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X the idea of death

plays a strong part in the overall messages of the poems. Both poets

use effective but very different methods in order to put forward their

views and/or to make a point about society.


John Donne's poem Holy Sonnet X is very unique Donne uses two main

poetic elements: tone and figurative language. The confident and

defiant tone adds to the speakers triumphant mastery death from a

natural occurrence into a human adversary, capable of being

overthrown. These elements all combine to enhance the theme of the

poem. In contrast Marvell in To His Coy Mistress uses tone, figurative

language and rhythm to give a completely different effect on the

reader. The scornful, jeering manner of Sonnet X is replaced with the

passionate and endearing spirit of an ardent lover. The figurative

language used on the 'coy' mistress stirs the emotions and shocks the

senses of the reader, allowing the increased intensity of the poem as

it progresses to make the poem more effective.

The substantial difference between the two poems with regards to their

approach of death is the influence of how the poets themselves view

death. Donne makes his poem all the more personal by insisting, "nor

yet canst thou kill me". Donne is actually using the poem to express

his own view that death should not be feared, as it has been since the

beginning of time. Donne makes it clear that he is not controlled by

fear of death, as m...

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...ust around the corner - and contradicted this argument with

astonishing shrewdness.

Holy Sonnet X speaks out to me because of its astonishing directness.

Donne has captured the very essence of Death and combined it with the

jeering tones to bring the unseen force down to the level of an

ordinary being.

To His Coy Mistress appeals to my personal tastes, in the style and

message of the poem. It is a very clever poem. Marvell very

successfully lulls the reader into a passiveness with nicely rhyming

couplets with only a few grotesque images to add to the overall effect

of the poem. He demonises time as a tyrant, slowly killing us all

until death finally kicks in to finish us. He then gives the

impression that the best way to fight this demon is to love with

enough passion to free us of the circle of life and death.
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