Andrew Marvell and William Shakespeare both write their poems featuring love and time, which are the two main themes of the poems. In Andrew Marvell’s “to his coy mistress” the love is physical in contrast to William Shakespeare’s “sonnet 116” in which the love is passionate. They have many similarities and differences between the two poets. For example they both use time to illustrate their feelings about love. Both poets believe that love is important, as they have taken time to write a poem, however what they believe differs.
Andrew Marvell’s attitude to love is rude and vulgar where as William Shakespeare’s love is romantic as he believes that a couple should always remain together even if they argue. In the first stanza of “To His Coy Mistress” Marvell is extremely romantic, as he wants to impress his mistress. He says to her
“Thou by the Indian Ganges side shouldst find rubies”
This phrase explains that the Mistress should go to the river Ganges where she is able to find rubies. I believe that Marvell particularly chose the Ganges for his Mistress, as the Ganges is a hot, warm, exotic and a romantic place. I can tell that Marvell has a lot of affectionate love for his Mistress as he constantly speaks about love. Another phrase that Marvell uses is: –
“My vegetable Love should grow vaster then empires”
This means that Marvell’s love will grow fast and deeply like vegetables. This shows more romanticism as he shows us how much he loves her and how deep his love is. In the first stanza Marvell is romantic and caring.
In the first quatrain of Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare’s opening lines explains that when a couple want to be together nothing should get in their way and true love should never keep changing. I believe the reason for Shakespeare to start the opening lines like that is because it tells us what love should be like.
In the second stanza of “To His Coy Mistress” Marvell’s attitude to love changes as he becomes cruel, vulgar, rude and unpleasant. My opinion is that love is not in his mind anymore, all he wants is to take away her virginity. Nevertheless in the third stanza he changes again, Marvell becomes romantic, affectionate and is enthusiastic about their future. In contrast like the first stanza, but he wants to have fun with her quickly as he believes that there is not enough time left.
In the second quatrain Shakespeare talks a lot about what should be like. He says: –
“That looks tempest and is never shaken”
This means that if they argue they should always remain together.
Form both of the texts I believe that Shakespeare is much more romantic as he writes what he believes and how he believes love should be, whereas Marvell is romantic but changes his personality about love all the time as he is extremely selfish.
Both poets use time as a feature of the texts. The main reason behind them using time is because they both believe that there is not sufficient time left. In the first stanza Marvell begins with the word “had”, this word gives us an expression in what he would like to do if there was more time. In the second stanza Marvell wants to sleep with his Mistress so he starts that stanza off with the word “But” this is because he believes that there is not enough time left. Marvell persuades his Mistress to sleep with him by saying: –
“Then worms shall try that long preserved virginity”
This means, that worms will take away your virginity. I believe that he says that to her as he is cruel and he want to try and scare her however Marvell says that to make his Mistress feel guilty so she doesn’t waste time and loses her virginity to Marvell. In the third stanza Marvell does want to waste the time they have left in the world and wants to spend as much time he can with his mistress, I know this because he says: –
“Rather at once our time devour” and ” thus though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run”
This means that they are unable to stop time but can use the time they have wisely.
William Shakespeare mainly uses time in the last quatrain of the sonnet. He speaks about time running out and what the affections of time running out are. He believes that when time runs out everyone would die and nobody would be able to love each other. The quotations used for this is
“Within his bending sickle compass come”,
He says these because he believes that time is going to run out if people do not love each other and keep faithful to one another.
Each poet’s tone of voice changes throughout the texts. In To His Coy Mistress Andrew Marvell speaks to his Mistress differently in all three of the stanzas. In the first stanza Marvell speaks to her in a well mannered, well respected and in a calm way. I believe that he speaks like in the first stanza because he wants to show his Mistress how much he cares for her. I have also realised this because the pace that he is speaking to her is slow and this shows us that he reflects his own feelings.
In the second stanza Marvell’s tone of voice is high pitched, loud and disturbing as he speaks in an awful way as he speaks in a discourteous way to his Mistress. The reason that he speaks that way is because he is trying to persuade his Mistress to enter into a physical relationship with him. In the final stanza his pace is slightly faster in contrast to the first stanza. The reason behind this is because he wants to spend as much time with her as possible.
William Shakespeare’s tone of voice doesn’t change as much as Andrew Marvell’s tone of voice as Shakespeare’s style in writing poems is a conversational type. He speaks casually as he would speak to somebody else. His tone of voice is strong as he says what he believes.
Both poets use imagery in the poems to show us what is happening in the scenes, it gives a little picture so we can understand the story much enhanced and creates different atmospheres. Andrew Marvell uses imagery buy saying,
“My vegetable love should’st grow vaster then empires”
This gives a picture of a vegetable growing quicker then an empire. In the second stanza Marvell uses imagery to say,
“Then worms shall try that long preserved virginity”
This gives a picture of worms all over the Mistress taking away her virginity. William Shakespeare also uses imagery in his “Sonnet 116”. For example he says,
“It is the star to every wandering bark”
This gives a picture of love guiding us to the right direction. Another example is: –
“But bears it out even to the edge of doom”
This line gives a picture of love being here forever until somebody dies.
Both poets have written their poems as the first person, this is because both poets have talked about their own feelings. Shakespeare is aiming his views at anybody who is interested in reading his work whereas Marvell is aiming his poem at a woman whom he is trying to persuade to do what he wants.
To His Coy Mistress and Sonnet 116 were both written at about the same periods of time but have different attitudes to love. I believe that both poets believe in love as they have both used their valuable time to write a poem. They are also incredibly passionate about love but Shakespeare believes in true love in contrast to Marvell where he is after a physical gratification of love. Both poets’ styles of writing are powerful as Marvell’s is demanding whereas Shakespeare’s are repetitive which I believe gives us a better understanding of the poem.