Comparison of the Presentation of Seduction in the Poems To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell and The Willing Mistress by Aphra Behn

Comparison of the Presentation of Seduction in the Poems To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell and The Willing Mistress by Aphra Behn

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Comparison of the Presentation of Seduction in the Poems To His Coy
Mistress by Andrew Marvell and The Willing Mistress by Aphra Behn

Both Marvell and Behn wrote during the Renaissance period and had
different styles. However, they explored similar themes. In 'To His
Coy Mistress', Marvell uses a cleverly structured argument called
'syllogism' to persuade his lover to 'seize the day' and make love
before their passion fades. In the first section, Marvell speculates
how he would adore his mistress. He compliments his mistress saying
she deserves such praise. He uses hyperbole to illustrate the extent
of his love. He uses many vast geographical and biblical allusions to
tell the vastness of his love. The tone in the second section is
desolate and threatening. Time is personified to show it's inevitable
conclusion - death confronts us all. He uses a blunt reminder that
'times winged chariot' is 'hurrying near'. Threatening images of
graves and decay emphasise his point. The imagery becomes morbid and
disturbing as he reminds his lover, manipulatively, that death will
inevitably destroy her virginity. In the third section of the poem,
Marvell draws his triumphant conclusion. His lover is young and
beautiful and they desire one another. He focuses on the urgency of
seduction. In contrast, Aphra Behn is revolutionary and our
expectations are challenged as she writes her willingness to
receivevher lover's attention in a female persona. She presents
seduction from a woman's point of view. She was one of the first women
to write about a woman's sexual feelings in pre-1900 poems.

Aphra Behn's humorous poem follows a narrative structure in which ...


... middle of paper ...


... them to consummate their love and savour her 'fleeting youth'. The
metaphorical description 'iron gates of life' tells us that life is
hard and full of though restrictions that ought to be and can be
broken by them. 'Iron gates of life' describes boundaries as barbaric.
The way in which he wishes to break such a strong boundary with just
their love for each other represents his confidence at the success of
his words.

I preferred 'To His Coy Mistress' to 'The Willing Mistress' because it
had hidden depths and meanings. I liked the way in which the poetic
techniques were used to produce such a powerful effect. I also like
the way in which the tone changes so often to portray his point. I did
like 'The Willing Mistress' because it is playful and humorous but it
is only a simple story and not a cryptic piece of poetry.

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