4 March 2014
Give It Up or Die?
If a person is attempting to lure and seduce someone, is the best approach to dwell on death? In Andrew Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress”, the nameless speaker is in pursuit of a lady attempting to convince his conquest to have sex with him, he attempts to grand his argument on how wintry, bug-filled, and desolate the grave will be, in order to convince his conquest to enjoy life now. He expounds to say that time is scarce and if they don’t seize the opportunity while young, time will fly by them and life will be over before they are even aware of it. The speaker proceeds to explain that only by being together can they fight against time and conquer it prior to falling victim to time themselves.. In the poem the speaker stresses the importance of deaths swift approach and the necessity of living like theres no tomorrow. Whilst this particular way of advancing may seem like a poor alternative for a person who is trying to persuade his admirer to sleep with him, it stresses the significance of “seizing the day” (otherwise known as carpe diem); which is the overall theme of the poem. The words “seizing the day” refers to taking advantage and making the most of the present moment. The poet utilizes imagery, symbolism, and figures of speech to communicate the importance of time and creatively explain the carpe diem concept.
Marvell’s use of imagery is used frequently throughout the poem to support the theme. The poem opens stating, “Had we but world enough, and time, / This coyness, Lady, were no crime” (1-2) as if he were a sort of victim to her modest character. The speaker continues and says he would love her to an unreachable extent if there was enough “time” but he never exactly says the word forever. Rather, he incorporates images of timelessness: “ten years before the Flood (8); / An age to every part (17)”. The imagery in this line makes forever seem stereotypic and unable...