A Comparison of ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell and ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’ by John Donne

A Comparison of ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell and ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’ by John Donne

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A Comparison of ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell and ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’ by John Donne

‘To His Coy Mistress’ and ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’ are both
poems about men seducing women. They centre around sex rather than
love or romance. Sixteenth and seventeenth century attitudes to love
and relationships were much stricter going as far as wealthy people
asking their perspective lovers to court them via love poem or letter.
Though this has changed from the sixteenth and seventeenth century to
today, little else has. It is still most common for a man to initiate
a relationship, and men are still perceived as the most sex obsessed.
However, even though we are led to believe that their attitudes were
more conservative, the attitudes conveyed in these poems are very raw
and primitive in the way that they make sex the ultimate. The men are
desperate begging the women for sex. However, as we know from other
poems (such as Cousin Kate and The Seduction) men valued purity above
most other things (when considering marriage). So we could say that
these men were hypocritical for wanting their women pure for marriage
but willing to have sex with them pre-marriage!

These poems are both themed on love, sex, romance and seduction.
However, the attitudes towards their relationships and lovers are
completely diverse. Andrew Marvell uses all forms of persuasion both
negative and positive to get her into bed with him. On the other hand
John Donne doesn’t seem to have to persuade his lover to sleep with
him at all, it seems that she is already willing. Andrew Marvell
appears to be incredibly desperate, but, in an unrelated way quite

... middle of paper ...

...day. Today we are much freer to talk
about our emotions. Whether we want to or not, nowadays when we listen
to music, see the television, films, magazines, papers, even just
walking down the street we have sexual, lustful references forced on
us. Back in the sixteenth and seventeenth century people didn’t have
the opportunities we have today to express themselves where as in
Donne and Marvell’s times emotional outlets were few and far between.
Therefore when they did get an opportunity they really went into
graphic detail, and although this can seem quite disgusting I can
understand why it had to be this way. My favourite of the two poems is
“To His Mistress Going to Bed”. I preferred it because the atmosphere
created by Donne is more loving, romantic and sincere. It really
showed that he had deep emotional capability.

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