Love and Sex in British Literature and Essay

“To His Coy Mistress” is a poem written by Andrew Marvell with suggestions of sex illustrated through three stanzas of the poem. This essay discusses the poem through explaining how it expresses a persuasive tone where the persona tries to convince her love to make love with him. “Had we but world enough and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime.” (Marvell, 1-2); “But at my back I always hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;” (Marvell, 21-22). The persona attempts to persuade the woman to make love with him through explaining how life is fickle and that they will not live forever. Additionally, the literary devices and terms used in the poem like an aphorism, Analogy, conflict, Hyperbole, and imagery are also analyzed regarding their importance in the poem. The themes of mortality, sex, freedom and confinement, and time are suggested by the author in some ways are also discussed exhaustively.

First, let us begin with the persuasive tone of the poem. The poet uses a very persuasive tone where the person tries to implore on the woman to have sex with him when they are still alive. In an attempt to persuade the woman, who has embraced chastity, “Iron Gates of Life” (Marvell, 44), the persona uses persuasive phrases like “while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew” (Marvell, 33-34) to enable her to understand that time flies and they will soon be old. As he engages in the persuasion to pursue the sexual pleasure, he tries to convince her by saying, “Had we but world enough and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime” (Marvell, 1-2). This he uses to justify to the lady her lack of patience, and that had they enough time he would be okay to love her at a slow pace.

“To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell further uses literary devices in the poem like an aphorism, Analogy, conflict, Hyperbole, and imagery to emphasize certain issues or achieve various agenda. Aphorism as a brief statement that expresses some truth in the poem has been used by Marvell in “To His Coy Mistress”. “Now, therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew” (Marvell, 33-34) this is an aphorism since it expresses the reality of how youthfulness fades away with time just like the morning dew that disappears as the sun shines. Conflict as a literary device is evident when the person pursues his interest in sex and pleasure while the woman maintains her chastity, “That long-preserved virginity” (Marvell, 28). An analogy is another literary device used by Marvell in “To His Coy Mistress”. This is evident in the persona’s move to urge their passage via the “iron gates of life” (Marvell, 44). The iron gate of life is an analogy symbolizing a humble enough material that intimates the woman’s earthbound realness.

A hyperbole is also used as a literary device. A hyperbole is an obvious exaggeration used in the poem to emphasize a phenomenon. In “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell, a Hyperbole is used to emphasize how the persona adores his lover’s beauty. “Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest;” (Marvell, 15-16). Moreover, imagery has also been employed as a literary device in the poem. Imagery is a mental picture that the poet creates so that we can visualize the senses and descriptions. In this poem, “Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound” (Marvell, 25-26) is an example of imagery that enables the readers to paint a picture in their minds of the happenings in the poem. Also important to note is the use of allusions. The poem uses this in “Till the conversion of the Jews” (Marvell, 10) to allude to the Biblical conversion of the Jewish people and “Love you ten years before the flood,” (Marvell, 8) to allude to Noah’s flood. Finally, metaphors are used by Marvell in the Poem to suggest comparisons between unlike things so as to point out a similarity. “Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side Shouldst rubies find” (Marvell, 5-6)

Some themes are discussed in “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell. These are suggested by the author to articulate certain issues of interest. Among the various themes identified in the poem are: First, the theme of time. The persona perceives time as a super villain that is up to finish him. If he were able, he would flip the script so that he would be the one to control time. He asserts that youth is like dew and as soon as the sun strengthens it will be gone. The sun herein as been used to denote time for which he views as enemies of his love. “Had we but world enough and time,” (Marvell, 1); “Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;” (22).

Another theme discussed is that of sex. The persona persuades his lover to let them have sex. This is evident when the persona’s lover is depicted as chaste holding to her virginity “That long-preserved virginity” (Marvell, 28). As time is presented in the poem as a super villain, the persona needs sex as the super power to counter-villain of time. This is however not easy to come across. A lot of persuasions and waiting have to ensue.

The theme of Mortality is also suggested in the poem “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell. The mortality which implies death has been considerably applied in a whole stanza of the poem. The “grave’s a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace.” (Marvell, 11-12). The persona spends time talking about post-death moments and how it will feel. This further emphasizes his desire to have sex when he still is alive. “And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity.” (Marvell, 23-24). This is just another reason for him to fear.

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