The infamous archetypal lovers, Romeo and Juliet, will forever be looked to as a model of passion and love. Their relationship began as an intense physical attraction that also fostered mutual respect from the start. They were loyal and true despite the consequences; even when it came to death. Unfortunately, not all passionate relationships have the same balance between lust and respect. The speaker in Andrew Marvell's poem, To His Coy Mistress, is writing to a woman in hopes of getting her into bed with him. Unlike the straightforward Romeo, the speaker twists his words in order to hide his true motive. In To His Coy Mistress, the speaker of the poem dehumanizes the mistress through a manipulative love poem.
At first glance, To His Coy Mistress appears to be a formal, lyric love letter. Early in the poem the speaker (the man addressing the maiden) expresses his plan of what he would do with her if they "Had world enough, and time ┬Ł (435). He brings up time in order to emphasize the amount of attention he would give to her if only he had the means. Obviously he does not have all the time in the world, so he attempts to replace action with words and begins by adoring her body. Once again the speaker brings up the vast amounts of time he wishes he had to satisfactorily worship her body. Although it is in our human nature to desire attention of our beauty, the speaker addresses each one of her body parts and assigns them value individually. Consequently, the maiden is seen in terms of her eyes, forehead and breasts but is never addressed as being a whole human being with a body, mind and soul (435). This illustrates one way in which the speaker views the maiden as less than human. Her body is merely one aspect of her being and to address it solely is demeaning.
The speaker spends time softening the maiden through flattery, and then tries to convince her to lose her virginity. After exhausting the subjec... Continue Reading