To His Coy Mistress

1586 Words7 Pages
“To His Coy Mistress”: An Explication In his lyrical poem, “To His Coy Mistress,” Marvell focuses on a subject that still baffles minds today, nearly 300 years later-sex. The poem was written by Andrew Marvell, a celebrated 17th-century metaphysical poetry writer. Marvell shows a world where women are seduced. Women and men have focused on the issue of sex for centuries. The most ironic thing that the reader should notice while analyzing this poem is that even though they are in two different time settings, the same persuasions are used as an argument in Marvell’s time as well as the present. Although he uses love and time as reasons why she should have sex with him, his main focus is her body. Marvell utilizes three distinctly different attitudes in each of the three stanzas to convince the reader that it is okay to make this argument to a woman. The young lady in “To His Coy Mistress” is definitely not to be taken for a mere fool because the narrator, an old man, would not have gone to great lengths to convince her to give her body to him. Marvell’s use of the word “coy” to describe the young lady shows her as bashful, hidden, and ‘a hard-to-get’ woman, in effect showing that she is still a virgin. And as a result, her response throughout the poem to his attempts to take her virginity stem from that fact. In the first stanza, from “Had we but world enough…Nor would I love at lower rate,” Marvell employs a flattering tone to convince the lady to have sex with him. He begins his attempts by comparing her to the Ganges River while himself to the Humber River. Any informed reader would know that the Ganges River in northern India was named after the very beautiful Indian goddess Ganga, and that the Humber was a river that flowed through Marvell’s hometown in England suggesting that this poem possible resembled a real life experience for Marvell. The older man
Open Document