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The writers of the poems, To His Coy Mistress, Our Love Now, Rapunzstiltskin and The Beggar Woman are critical of men and present them in a highly negative way.

Both King and Lochhead have created males who are really only interested in sex. Neither character appears to have any respect or love for the woman in the poem. The ‘Prince’ in Rapunzstiltskin makes no attempt to rescue the woman, preferring to keep her conveniently locked up in the tower which he can enter at his convenience/.

“…he was shimmying in & out

every other day as though

he owned the place…”

He even goes as far as to bring her sex manuals, presumably for his own benefit! He deliberately delays rescuing her, as this would put an end to his supply of sex on tap.

“…from which she was meant, eventually,

to weave the means of her own escape.”

In The Beggar Woman, the man here shows no plan of committing to the lady. This shows he is using her only for sex.

Whilst the male protagonist in To His Coy Mistress makes a powerfully persuasive, intellectual and passionate argument to the woman that she should no longer deny him sex, he does at least seem to have powerful and enduring feelings of love for her. Everything he says in the4 poem is designed to encourage the woman to abandon her chastity. He uses flattery and speaks of his vast and timeless love for her in the first section of the poem.

“A hundred years should go to praise

Thine eyes, and on they forehead gaze.”

We as readers need to question the authenticity of these sentiments. Are they genuine or are they simply tactics to persuade the woman to enter into a physical relationship?

King and Lochhead are highly critical of the men in their poems, presenting them as interested only in sex, showing no real concern for the woman in question. Marvell’s protagonist does, however, appear to have some finer feelings which make us more sympathetic towards him.

It is clear that the male in The Beggar Woman doesn’t want to commit to the lady. He is using her only for sex. There is proof of this in the child he left her with from a previous meeting.

“For little Bobby, to her shoulders bound…”

The man does not take responsibility for his actions, leaving the woman to look after the baby by herself, even though she is poor.

This character is like the male in Rapunzstiltskin in the way he doesn’t want to commit. He doesn’t rescue Rapunzle.

“…from which she was meant, eventually,

to weave the means of her own escape.”

He doesn’t help her escape the tower because he knows that if he rescues her, he’ll have to commit to Rapunzle, whereas, now, he has her at his convenience.

We cannot say the same about the male in To His Coy Mistress, however.

” I would

Love you ten years before the flood…”

Although he seems to be using maybe wrong ways to try and convince his partner to have sex with him, it seems as though he does actually love her and would still stay with her if she said no to his argument.

In Our Love Now, the male is similar to both Lochhead’s or King’s for the reason that he doesn’t seem to want to commit to his partner as he probably cheated on her, but we can also compare him to Marvell’s male character as he is trying to make up for what he did.

To say that the man in each poem is selfish would be true for some, but not for all. In The Beggar Woman, the male is obviously selfish as he tries every way to have sex with the lady, making it seem as he is doing it so as not to inconvenience her.

“…I should be loth

To come so far and disoblige you both:

Were the child tied to me, d’ye think ‘twould do?”

Neither does the man take responsibility for his actions. He leaves the penniless woman to deal with their child by herself.

This is similar to the male in Our Love Now as he wants the best of both worlds – to probably have an affair and then be taken back by his partner.

“observe how the wound heals in time…

and such

is our relationship.”

This is selfish as he isn’t taking into account the woman’s feelings.

The ‘Prince’ in Rapunzstiltskin leaves Rapunzle stuck in the tower as he comes in and out for sex, making no attempt to rescue her.

“…he was shimmying in & out

every other day as though

he owned the place…”

This shows that he doesn’t consider Rapunzle as a person. He is selfishly keeping her locked up so that he can use her as he pleases.

On one hand, the male protagonist in To His Coy Mistress could be considered like the rest as selfish and only wanting sex, but because of his love for his partner, he isn’t quite as selfish.

Using tactics such as scaring the woman into having sex with him is wrong, but he flatters her and clearly loves the woman and would probably stay with her if she were to say no.

In all poems, but one, the woman has the upper hand at the end of the poem. King portrays the woman as being the cleverer of the two as she tricks the man by tying the baby to his back and running away, leaving him to suffer the consequences of his actions. The woman in Our Love Now has the option of whether to take the man back after he has betrayed her, like the woman in To His Coy Mistress, who holds the power of whether to give or deny the male sex. The male isn’t stupid, however, as he managed to construct this well thought out and clear argument as to why the woman should have sex with him.

However, it is clearly the opposite to To His Coy Mistress in Rapunzstiltskin as the woman is locked in the tower and the man is using her. This is similar to The Beggar Woman, but Rapunzle doesn’t gain power at the end. Instead, the man aggravates her with his clich�s, causing her to kill herself, therefore neither man nor woman has the upper hand. The man is portrayed as stupid throughout, being the typical macho male with no brains, just good looks.

The readers think King’s male as being selfish and only interested in sex, which is true and thus don’t like him. The same goes for the ‘Prince’ in Rapunzstiltskin. Lowery’s male is disliked because he has probably cheated on his partner and is now begging for forgiveness.

Again saved by his love for his partner, the male in To His Coy Mistress isn’t disliked as much as the other males, but the readers don’t like him because of the tactics and violent imagery he uses to try and scare his partner into having sex.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that there is an exception to the rule of the men being selfish, stupid and afraid of commitment coming from each poem. Also, this isn’t a biased argument by woman against men as three of the writers of the poems are males.



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