Love in The Flea and To his Coy Mistress Essay

2087 Words 9 Pages
Love in The Flea and To his Coy Mistress

Compare the ways John Donne in his poem The Flea and Andrew Marvell in his poem To his Coy Mistress present the theme of love.

Donne and Marvell’s poems have both similarities and differences, as they both present the theme of love in an unconventional way and dwell on it superficially. This can be seen by the way in which both authors show their views on love, though are clearly just using them as attempts to seduce their mistresses, who are clearly reluctant. Taking this into account, I feel that these “love poems” are more about lust than love and are more focussed on the writer’s efforts of seduction.
Both poems are one sided dialogues between the poet and his mistress.

They do,
…show more content…
This point becomes clear at the start of “The Flea” where Donne provides a forceful feel, using the imperative command ‘Mark’ as his opening word. This is instructive and, by saying “Mark but this little flea, and mark in this,” he is clearly illustrating that this is a form of didactic writing. Marvell is more subtle, however, introducing a hypothetical situation and avoiding imperative commands, which can be seen by the way he uses words like “Had we” and “we would”. This is a great contrast already in only the opening lines with Marvell stating “Had we but World enough, and time”. The rest of the opening stanzas in the two poems continue to contrast each other, with Marvell mocking himself as he describes a romantic place, using the imagery of
“Rubies”, and “The Ganges,” both of which are stereotypically linked with romance and elegance. He uses these to show where she is in comparison to him and shows his discontent by saying “I…of Humber would complain”. He also uses this imagery to demonstrate his commitment and show his love to be true by talking of how “I would love you ten years before the flood.” This can be seen as referring to how long he would wait before she was ready to give in to him, with
“the flood” having sexual connotations.

The more complex argument used by Donne, on
Open Document