The Flea, and Shall I compare thee. In what ways have the three poets
used, or departed from, the conventions of their time and why do you think
they have been successful in ...
Look again at the three seventeenth century poems, “To His Coy
Mistress”, “The Flea”, and “Shall I compare thee”. In what ways have
the three poets used, or departed from, the conventions of their time
and why do you think they have been successful in entertaining their
“To His Coy Mistress”, “The Flea” and “Shall I Compare Thee” are all
poems written in the 17th century. Marvell, Donne and Shakespeare who
were the authors of the poems, departed from conventions of that time.
Marvel and Donne wrote metaphysical poetry and invented a new genre,
whereas Shakespeare wrote a sonnet which appeared to be written in the
style of that time but with twists. They have achieved these poems by
taking a unique approach to writing them and by keeping the readers
entertained through amusement, dismay and excitement.
“To His Coy Mistress and “The Flea” are very similar in context and
purpose. They are metaphysical poems which reflect wit, obscure
comparisons of objects and the reality of love and sex. The purpose of
both poems was to get the speaker’s mistress to sleep with him, using
strong imagery in an act of persuasion. The poems were written to
entertain and would have been passed round the writer’s friends in
order to amuse them. “Shall I compare thee” however, stood out because
the writer chose a convention already in use. The purpose of this
sonnet was to flatter his loved one and in an unexpected twist at the
end, also himself.
“Had we but world...
... middle of paper ...
...ent awareness to the poet from the loving and
affectionate one we once felt. He comes across proud and slightly
arrogant about his work, and puts a different slant on what was once a
conventional love poem.
In conclusion I think the 17th day reaction would have been
entertaining and funny and therefore quite different to the reaction I
would expect now. People today would find the poetry quite shocking
and distasteful and they would not be considered politically correct.
“To His Coy Mistress” is successful because it is entertaining, wheras
“The Flea” is successful because it’s fascinating and slightly
confusing at times. “Shall I compare thee” however is totally
different because it has departed from it and the overall result was
very successful. The poet went from delighting the audience then to
twisting their opinions of him keeping them entertained.
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