“Dialogue Between Me, Myself & I” Poetry Paper Analysis

A wise man once said “The toughest battle you’ll ever fight in your life is the battle within yourself.” Many Islamic scholars have said that and the greatest book in the whole world, the Quran, states that there is another being within our self and that it is our greatest enemy. It has no physical appearance nor shape nor form. No matter how much you want to get rid of it, you can’t, it’s like a soul trap inside your body. Some say it’s like a dungeon. Where your soul is trapped inside your body and your body is trapped inside your soul.

‘A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body’ is a poem written by a great poet, Andrew Marvell. He is known for his crafty use of words disguised in his poems to represent his “models” and views in the abstract nature. He portrays this poem and sends the message to the readers by the usage of deep imagery, simile, alliteration, metaphor, and personification to portray the body and soul as enemies which represents the conflicts inside each and every body and a soul. Here, body represents the strong and carnal desires that are engraved in yourselves just like Satan that lives among us. On the other hand, the soul is the divine and the spiritual dimension of our existence as in our daily deeds. This antagonistic scenario originated when Satan refused to honor the human species and vowed to destroy the human race. Fortunately enough, god did not abandon us from this vicious beast. He grants us the freedom of choice followed up with knowledge and will power. In this poem, the Body and the Soul are typically viewed as two beings that are inter-related to one another. Sadly, they deceive one another and torture each other in this argumentative poem. The author starts of the poem like a form of a debate going on between the body and the soul. This form of literacy creates forceful and aggressive tone throughout the poem.

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The poem has been broken into four parts also known as “stanzas.” Each part has 10 lines and it follows the rhyme scheme “aa, bb, cc, ee”, which makes it a smooth harmonious and familiar flow. Every day in our life we have conflicting thoughts and that create an intense moment of emotional fits. As soon as you hear the annoying ring beside your bed every morning, the struggle starts and it’s real. Your body wants to rest while your soul is craving to pray just like how soul confront, “O who shall, from this dungeon, raise, A soul enslaved so many ways?” this is a powerful complaint. It is not only being imprisoned in the body but also tortured by it every time. The word choice Marvell uses brings focus on words like “dungeon” and “ensalv’d” because it has a strong and deep symbol it. Even though the poem is called the “A Dialogue Between the Soul and Body,” it more like thinking out a loud. For instance, the soul is not quarrelling with the body instead it is asking a rhetorical question in the first stanza, second line. In the second line, it says “enslaved so many ways,” now we will have our first description of the many ways it had been enslaved. “With bolts of bones, that fetter’d stands. In feet, and manacled in hands,” they could have use any other word other than bolts yet it’s been use here because it is use as a metaphor in linking to skeleton and how it is like a prison. “Here blinded with an eye, and there.

Deaf with the drumming of an ear,” this two lines sounds pretty weird to me because eye helps us see and ear helps us hear. However, if we look at the perspective of the soul, soul doesn’t need ear or eyes in fact it says that it “blinded” and makes it “deaf” making it contrasting. “A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains. Of nerves, and arteries, and veins,” as you have witness, the description of the scenario is dark and really vivid. “soul hung up…in chains,” just like any hardcore prison would do. To soul, the arteries and the million veins inside the body is like torment. Throughout the poem you will observe there is a lot of stress words and it follows iambic tetrameter. There is a lot of use of symbolism, simile and metaphor as I have mentioned above. After opening to soul statement and complaint body started off with a rhetorical question, “Who shall me deliver whole.

From bonds of this tyrannic soul?” The body clearly wasn’t thrilled with the ill vibe that the soul let out, all the body wants is peace and a quiet life. The body switched the blame on the soul and wants to be free from the soul’s tyranny reign. The body uses the word choice; “bonds” and “tyrannic” to shift the meaning to immaterial, an immoral dictator. “And, wanting where its spite to try, has made me live to let me die,” the body uses paradox here in this quote, he body blames the soul of his overflow with hatred and its lacking to practice it, “wanting” here means lacking. “Since this ill spirit it possest.” Marvell uses all assonance in this last line of stanza two. By reading the body’s stanza, I can conclude that the soul is the one who have power over emotions, ethics and being active. We us human beings are like the soul, we have the power to do anything and the body here is fighting. It doesn’t want to go down alone it going to pull you down as well. The soul hasn’t change a bit, I think it got even more angrier with the body. It challenges the body by saying “What magic could me thus confine, Within another’s grief to pine?” Here it’s basically saying that what kind of ability does the body have that it can restrain the soul from leaving and also feeling all the pains that the body put through. “Magic” here is use it’s a big stretch but it possibly might mean god because since the beginning, the soul wants to go to the heavens. The soul was just sad about the struggle the body put through every day, now the soul goes into how much pain it feels when the body is hurt physically. “feel, that cannot feel, the pain.” There is use of paradox again here when it says “cannot feel, the pain,” meaning that it can only feel the pain when its force inside the body.

On the last third line of stanza there its has an alliteration of w “what’s worse,” wanting to get the reader’s attention and to feel bad towards soul. So far, Marvell is trying to see where the reader’s heart goes, towards the soul? Or the body? Last but not least its stanza 4 meaning that it is the last stanza and the body was sure pissed out after everything soul criticize. “But physic yet could never reach. The maladies thou me dost teach.” In this opening line the use of “thou” plays a major part, it is like stab in the central of the soul’s heart. The body set the tone a bit higher it clearly got more aggressive and basically telling the soul that no medicine can treat the pain that the body feel. Now they are fighting over who have to dealt with more pain. Even though, emotional pain is nowhere close to physical pain the body have no emotion therefor for it, it is a lot of pain. “The pestilence of love does heat, or hatred’s hidden ulcer eat,” it is true that a pestilence of loves does heat because the body and soul are both are too weak to go through when the love fails them. “hatred,” here is an illness with no cure. It grows under your skin and eat your inside until you become completely ill.

There is another alliteration here “hatred’s hidden,” trying to focus on the hatred of the soul. The last two lines of the stanza; “So architects do square and hew. Green trees that in the forest grew,” there is a assonance, “Green,” and “tree,” showing that it is important because it is the body’s last argument. “So architects do square and hew. Green trees that in the forest grew.” Marvell use of metaphor for the last point for the body is interesting. Architects themselves slather trees and shaped them into sculptures and different kind of forms. The whole poem is made up of iambic “daDUM daDUM” since from the first line. “O who shall, from this dungeon, raise.” It also consists of 10 lines per stanza. Both the body and the soul have equivalent beef heading to stanza 4 but Marvell heart was toward the body because it gave extra 4 lines in the beginning and chose to end with it. Oh! Poor soul!  The setting of the poem can be describing in so many ways. When I read the poem, I imagine a table where the soul and body are human figures and sitting at each end, complaining problems. There is a lot of alliteration and assonance as I have shown above. The title of the poem is just a normal title it has a meaning to it. Again, the word choice, “Dialogue” is like a quarrel between the soul and the body and it represents the reader with the issues and makes the reader to pick a side even though Marvell himself was bias toward body. It doesn’t really matter because the human body is the best picture of the human soul.

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“Dialogue Between Me, Myself & I” Poetry Paper Analysis. (2021, Oct 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/dialogue-between-me-myself-i-poetry-paper/