Contrasting Love in To His Coy Mistress and Elegy for Jane Essay example

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Contrasting Love in To His Coy Mistress and Elegy for Jane

If one is interested enough to look, one can find twenty-eight definitions for the word "love" in the dictionary. Such a broadly-defined word has no doubt contributed to the diverse array of poems which all claim (legitimately) to be about "love". Two such poems are "To His Coy Mistress", by Andrew Marvell, and "Elegy for Jane", by Theodore Roethke. Both poems are clearly love poems; however, the types of love that each one represents are quite different. "To His Coy Mistress" is written in a very amorous tone, while "Elegy for Jane" is written with a tone of deep, personal affection and loss.

Dictionary definition number three for love is "sexual passion or desire".
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What the speaker has done here, then, is planted a seed stating that he knows she will surrender her virginity to him, and he would gladly wait forever for her to do so, if time permitted. However, time does not permit, as he points out in lines 21-32. He dispassionately (lending a false air of objectivity!) states that nothing will be gained by her keeping her virginity forever, except for it to be eaten by worms in the grave, along with the decay of his feelings (lines 27-28). He tries to worry her by pointing out that her beauty is both finite and fleeting (line 25). He asks, essentially, what point there is in letting her honor turn to dust and his lust into ashes, because principles account for nothing when you are dead (lines 29-30). Life should be enjoyed while you are young (line 34), so give into your hormones (lines 35-36), and let’s make love now, while we can, before we are too old to enjoy it (lines 37-40)! The sexual references to Zeus (lines 45-46) help the speaker "sell" his woman on how great things will be once she finally gives in to him. Th speaker, over the course of the poem, has played the trust game that amorous young men have played