To His coy mistress by Andrew Marvell Essay

To His coy mistress by Andrew Marvell Essay

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In "To His Coy Mistress," Andrew Marvell presents a speaker who appeals to his love
through persuasion. The speaker uses an appeal to reason as his main tool, but he also appeals to his mistress through emotion and character to garner a response. Each stanza utilizes a different method of appeal that relies on diction and punctuation. In the first stanza, the speaker appeals to character, in the second emotion, and in the third reason. By using different methods of appeal, the speaker hopes to win his mistress' love.
From the title, one can see that the speaker is a man addressing a female. However, to
understand the dramatic situation, one cannot examine the title alone but must scrutinize the entire poem. In the first stanza, the speaker professes his love for his mistress by saying he would love her from time's beginning to time's end (7-10). The speaker's "love should grow vaster than empires"(11-12) and he would adore her for thousands of years (13-18). In the second stanza, the speaker uses images associated with death, and in the third he offers a plan by which the two should live, knowing that one does not live forever. With this information, one identifies the dramatic situation as a man's attempt to woo a fickle lover into spending the rest of her life with him.
Identifying the speaker and the situation is not enough to analyze a poem rhetorically, so one must look at the overall scheme in combination with an in-depth look. The overall scheme of this poem follows an appeal to reason, as proven by the first lines of each of the three stanzas. The poem begins with, "Had we but world enough and time," which sets up an argument in which the speaker proposes what he would do if time permitted. The argument continues in the second stanza with the first word, "But," which indicates a problem with the speaker's initial thoughts. The "But" begins a stanza in which the speaker introduces the universal truth that one does not live forever. However, by starting the final stanza with, "Now therefore," the speaker gives a solution to the problem he raised in the previous stanza. The method by which one introduces an idea, finds a flaw in it, and then finds a solution to the problem follows a chain of logic and appeals to a
person's reason.
Analyzing the poem further, one notices that the speaker's ton...


... middle of paper ...


...s what he wants and knows that he does not have eternity, so he wants his mistress to profess her love while she can. To accomplish this goal, the speaker appeals to his mistress' reason. Starting the stanza with "Now therefore" (33) begins his appeal to reason. He uses the
thoughts he introduced in the first two stanzas to rationalize his ideas in the third stanza. The speaker wants to live with his mistress while they are still "youthful" (33-34) and passionate "like amorous birds of prey" (38). He wants the two of them to make the most of their lives together (43-46) and refusal of his love does not make sense because their passion will mean nothing in death, a logical reason. By loving each other, they may not stop time and live forever as lovers, but they can make it seem that way by filling their lives with love and happiness.
In conclusion, Marvell's poem incorporates the three rhetorical appeals by creating a
situation where a man attempts to persuade his mistress into spending her life with him. Overall, the speaker appeals to reason, but upon closer inspection, the type of appeal changes whenever the tone and persona of the speaker changes.

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