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Sexual and Selfish Love Interests - Essay Example

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Love can be painted using different poems. Indeed, poems are often made to depict their speakers' love for the women they are wooing or their lovers. This essay compares and contrasts Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress and Robert Browning's My Last Duchess…
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Sexual and Selfish Love Interests
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Download file to see previous pages These two poems are about the speakers' ardent love and their intentions to express that love, but the different perspectives of the speakers impact their expression of their love. To His Coy Mistress has an enthusiastic lover as the speaker. His eagerness can be further explored in the rhetorical techniques that he uses to persuade his lover to agree with the consummation of their love. For instance, he uses logos to express the urgency of his lust: “Time's winged chariot hurrying near” (Marvell 22). The emphasis on the “wings” and “chariot” sends the image of “now.” Act now, he urges the mistress, and let us make love before time comes to take us. The speaker also uses pathos by stressing his intense emotions for his mistress. He says that “coyness” is “no crime” (Marvell 2), but to wait for too long will lead to both their suffering. He stresses that coyness has its supreme disadvantage of not being able to enjoy the ecstasy of acting “like am'rous birds of prey” (Marvell 38). The word “amorous” specifically indicates carnal love and the so this speaker's sole intention is to entice his mistress to surrender her body to him. The main driving force of the poem is, hence, lust. The speaker of the poem My Last Duchess also shows passionate love. At first, it seems that it is about the Duchess, whom a painting has immortalized. In reality, the Duke refers to his love for himself. He has a superiority complex that can be inferred from how he describes his name: “My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name” (Browning 33). He believes that he is a “gift” to womanhood and that as a gift, he should be the main priority of his Duchess. His main intention in this poem is to express what he expects from his new Duchess, which reflects his own intentions as an authoritarian lover. As a lover he expects that the Duchess smiles to him only and not to anyone else. He hated how his past Duchess easily smiled to everyone else: “A heart – how shall I say? – too soon made glad” (Browning 22). This man detests “sharing” even his wife's smile. It demonstrates how obsessive and selfish he is with his loved ones, not because he loves them so much, but because he loves himself too greatly. Marvell and Browning are both effective in expressing their themes, though Browning handles the theme of love with irony. Browning's poem seems to be about the lovely Duchess, for the curtain reveals her beauty, which is a “wonder” (3). The Duke opens this curtain to a representative of the Count. He wants to marry the Count's niece. The Duke praises Fra Pandolf for capturing the “depth and passion” of his Duchess' beauty through his painting (8). Browning portrays soon, however, that the poem is more about the Duke than the Duchess. In particular, the poem exposes the Duke's selfish love, when he criticizes his wife's sharing of her smile with all she sees: “...Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,/Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without/Much the same smile?” (Browing 43-45). For the Duke, this smile should be reserved to him and him alone. It is ironic that as the Duke describes his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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