preview

Comparing The Flea By Andrew Marvell And John Donne

Decent Essays
Andrew Marvell and John Donne are two poets known for their amorous poems. Donne's The Flea can be seen as a frantic and intense assertion regarding the woman, who the poem is about, and what it would take for the supposed mistress to sleep with him. Marvell's To His Coy Mistress is also, although not too similar to Donne, a 'rational and sensible' assertion regarding his mistress, asking her to take advantage of the opportunity he is presenting her while trying to get her to sleep with him by describing her overall physical attractiveness and refinement at the same time. Donne and Marvell, while sharing similar aims, are different in the ways they portray women. Donne's The Flea is an insisting argument regarding the woman's virginity. He…show more content…
Marvell is much more anapestic as he tries to pursue his mistress through his alluring love poem. The poem begins with: “Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime.” (Marvell, 1-2). The word 'coyness' in this line expresses the mistress' interest in Marvell, or is at least showing signs of curiosity. Unlike Donne, who believes that the mistress shares similar feelings as him, Marvell makes sure to reveal the fact that the mistress is coy and having the same feelings as he perceives it. Afterwards, Marvell also mentions that he is willing to spend forever wooing and enticing the woman: “Had we but world enough, and time,” (Marvell, 1). Marvell then tries to make the woman feel more relaxed and complacent by saying that “And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews.” (Marvell, 9-10), meaning that he is more than willing to let her keep denying him if she were to do so until the end of time. Later in the poem, Marvell moves on to describe the mistress' overall physical attractiveness and refinement: “An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest: An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart.” (Marvell, 13-18). Here, he uses romanticism to charm the mistress regarding her outer beauty while simultaneous saying that…show more content…
Marvell's approach of persuasion is different as a whole. He depends on flattery and encomiums to charm and allure to the woman's feelings. It is clear that Marvell has more respect for his mistress because he makes it known that the mistress is also interested in him the same way he is in her. There are reciprocal feelings involved. While Donne sees his mistress as inferior, Marvell sees his mistress as an equal, and as the poem develops, the descriptions he used to describe the woman can be seen as descriptions used to describe a goddess. In conclusion, when comparing and contrasting Marvell's and Donne's poems, they both approximately share similar aims. The connection is in their shared objective of trying to persuade their mistress' to sleep with them. While Donne's structure of a female is simple and demeaning to women in general because his dominant fixation makes him believe that he can trounce his mistress, Marvell's structure of a female is the opposite; he considers his mistress an equal and treats her with respect, and also structures her as beautiful and cherishes her
Get Access