To His Coy Mistress Essay

To His Coy Mistress Essay

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The speaker of “To His Coy Mistress” is a man with a high libido addressing an unwilling woman who is guarding her virginity. Marvell uses figures of speech to unify his theme of Carpe Diem, to seize the day, in order for the speaker to seduce the woman. The first Stanza of the poem signifies that his love is as everlasting as time. Whereas, in the second Stanza he realizes that time is of the essence and the woman must give in to his desires. The third Stanza the speaker brings the woman back from the imaginative dead, and explains to her that she must seize the opportunity since she is youthful.
In “To His Coy Mistress,” the persona speaks of his high libido and the theme of Carpe Diem in which the “Coy Mistress” should go to bed with him and seize the day. At first the speaker uses a hyperbole when he tells the woman that he would love her until Armageddon when he states, “I would/ Love you ten years before the flood/ and you should, if you please, refuse/ Till the conversion of the Jews” (Marvell lines 7-10). This shows he is patient and will wait for her to give into his sexual desires. He exaggerates when he explains to her that he has until the end of time for the woman to make her decision. The speaker even alludes to the Bible, referencing the conversion of the Jews during Armageddon. This is used as irony because the Mistress wants to preserve her virginity, but by using a Biblical reference he is trying to seduce her into losing her sanctified virginity. Marvell also expresses the speakers patience when he writes, “We would sit down and think which way/ to walk, and pass our long love’s day/ Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side” (3-5). He suggests that the woman could wait for him if she stayed youthful, which is a contr...


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...the persona, a young man, to a coy Mistress who has denied his sexual needs. The persona strains to seduce the woman by expressing his thoughts on youth and impending death. The first Stanza of the poem shows the speaker to be tolerant and waits for the Mistress’s response for sex. The Mistress, as he finds out, is a challenging woman to win over, because she holds her virginity as holy. The persona derives extreme notions, when she is dead her virginity’s sole purpose is worm food, and grasps attention by the graphic image of her death. The speaker embodies the theme of Carpe Diem and tries to force his ideas upon her so that he may have sex with her.



Works Cited

Marvell, Andrew. “To His Coy Mistress”. Portable Legacies; Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Nonfiction. Ed.Jan Zlotnik Schmidt and Lynne Crockett. Wadswort Cengage Learning: Boston 2009. 670-671. Print.

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