Andrew Marvell writes an elaborate poem that not only speaks to his coy mistressbut also to the reader. He suggests to his coy mistress that time is inevitablyticking and that he (the speaker) wishes for her to act upon his wish and have asexual relationship. Marvell simultaneously suggest to the reader that he/shemust act upon their desires, to hesitate no longer and seize the moment?beforetime expires. Marvell uses a dramatic sense of imagery and exaggeration in orderto relay his message to the reader and to his coy mistress.
The very first twolines of the poem suggest that it would be fine for him and his mistress to havea slow and absorbing relationship but there simply isn? enough time. Heuses exaggerations such as ?ove you ten years before the Flood?and?n hundred years should go to praise? ?wo hundred to adore eachbreast; But thirty thousand to the rest.? These exaggerations imply that thespeaker would wait many many years until his coy mistress was ready, but thereisn? enough time.
The reader can also visualize the deep love the speakercontains for his coy mistress through the imagery. For example, the speakersuggests that his vegetable love should grow, and vegetables only get larger andmore ripe as they grow, analogous to his love, but vegetables grow very slow.
His love is so great that it would grow ?aster than empires, and moreslow? meaning that if there was enough time, his love for her would be immense.
The speaker in this poem is suggesting that his coy mistress is well worth allof these praises, but considering the situation with such little time, there isno period for such high praise. The speaker in this poem seems frustrated; hedelicately tries to inform his coy mistress that their death is near, and theystill have not had sexual intercourse. In lines 17-33 the poem seems to lose theexaggeration sense and suddenly becomes serious. He (the speaker) reinsures hiscoy mistress that ?ou deserve this state?(state of praise and highacknowledgment), ?ut at my back I always hear, Time? wingedchariot hurrying near? Andrew Marvell uses and interesting image in line 22 (theline mentioned above) when suggesting to his coy mistress that death is near. Hesubstitutes the word ?eath?for a more gentle, delicate term of ?ime?winged chariot? This term was probably used to prevent from frightening such acoy mistress. Marvell continues to involve the reader? imaginationthrough unimaginable images. What do ?eserts of vast eternity?look like?In fact, Marvell probably used such abstract images to suggest to his coymistress that their future is indeterminable, and ?hy beauty shall nomore be found? Perhaps, beauty is what the coy mistress is so concerned with andthe speaker in this case is trying to frighten her to have sex with him quicker.
He continues to use intense imagery when describing to his coy mistress thateven after death the ?orms shall try That long preserved virginity? Thespeaker now abstractly describes that holding on to your virginity for life isno good, because her body will be raped of worms and her virtue will turn todust after death. The last stanza strongly urges for him and his coy mistress toact now and let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball?Through the imagery in this stanza he the speaker seems irritated by thepressures of time, and the stubbornness of his coy mistress. Marvell uses actionwords and images to portray the speaker’s short patience such as instant fires?birds of prey? time devour? and tear our pleasures with rough strife? take himrun? These images create an instant picture in the reader’s mind that depict thespeakers anxiety. Also, in lines 33, 37, and 38 Marvell uses the word how? toimply that the speaker wants he and she to take action immediately. Marvellcreated this poem with a universal theme, a theme that urges everyone to actupon their wishes immediately before time expires. Marvell never informs thereader that the speaker in the poem is dying of old age or illness, but he thespeaker is growing impatient because he believes that death may just sneak upunexpectedly. By ignoring the reasons for death and stressing the reasons totake action, the reader should receive the message and take action, because timecould just stop ticking (according to Andrew Marvell).
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