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Compare and contrast how relationships between men and women - Essay Example

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The relationship between men and women as portrayed in Alexander Pope's mock heroic poem The Rape of the Lock, plunges into a panache of satire that is based on the basic adjuration: the triviality of a women's world and that of her concerns, as represented by the pseudo-intellectual world of Belinda (and other women characters) and those of their admirers…
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2) Compare and contrast how relationships between men and women are portrayed in three of the following works: The relationship between men and women as portrayed in Alexander Pope's mock heroic poem The Rape of the Lock, plunges into a panache of satire that is based on the basic adjuration: the triviality of a women's world and that of her concerns, as represented by the pseudo-intellectual world of Belinda (and other women characters) and those of their admirers. The heart of the woman has been compared to a movable toy-shop and men are philanders, who represent the cruel chivalry of the age. The lock of hair represents Belinda's unconsummated yet violated and threatened chastity, and behind the apparent frivolity of expression, it masks the cruelty with which a woman's world is gauged. Steeped in melancholia, under the deep mask of genteel urbanity of sterile beauty lies the battleground of the sexes where men must baffle the women into submission and women must restrain their natural urges to trick men into marrying them. Belinda like an ideal of such nubile aspirations yearns for calculated gains that are not necessarily moral. The actual relationship between men and women has been classically mocked and shown to be the prey of machinations and utter confusion that is hardly resolved. Ironically the women are shown to be fair and unequal to men who posses the right to offend and encroach, while the women may only resort to restore and repress themselves, and their only weapon of injury to men are their "killing" eyes. (Last canto).
Marvell's To His Coy Mistress does introduce his mistress as a passive listener, unlike the panting and raging host of women in Rape Of the Lock, but gives a semblance of a relationship that is metaphysically yearning to leap all boundaries of physicality and transgress the platonic boundaries that her shyness is imposing on them. The poet reveals the length of cajoling he would have indulged into had their love been just eternal in their physicality. But the truth of living in the moment dawns onto him as he urges his mistress to give up her coyness and allow him to ravish her before she is interred with the worms to make nuisance of her virginity. The poem rides to a sublime height in the beginning, only to end with a preference for sexual pleasure and violent mating that would reduce the onslaught of deaths finality and make the short life worth living in its carpe diem sync. The voice of the male poet is often sarcastic of his mistress who chooses to be sanctimonious with her love for the man, the poet. Yet, the relationship threatens to become vegetative for the poet because of the willingness of his maid remains within her soul and he is helping her to "tear" the shackles of social mores and make sport with free will. Marvell is voicing his lust and yet there is a measure of freedom that he is trying to indulge in, through the help of his lover or as he is trying to make his love taste real freedom that challenges the moribund emotions that must entomb a virtuous woman representative of the era. Thus in a way it is also a call for equal sexual rights and right for the woman to enjoy it too beyond all moral and social imposition of a false "coyness".
Donne's The Good-Morrow is the most mature of the poems as it transcends their physical love and looks forward to a love that has its foundations in an undying spiritual unity. Donne is concerned with the nature of their love as man and woman and the complete platonic satisfaction that resonates between the two. Beyond that he makes his lover wonder how it may have been possible for them to have been alive before they found each other. The ideal nature of their love remains not only in their dream of each other but in their consummated awakening in the morning of microcosmic discovery of each other. Donne's lover is a man who is possessed with the idea of an equal world where the love between man and woman is so "alike" and part of "two better hemisphere" where it can never slacken or become unbalanced. He is talking about the complete union of the soul and a state of understanding that may have been voiced in the last two lines of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" and where both the lovers are seeking a refuge from the cruel world not just besotted with a monster time to eat them up, but with people who may try to deter their sanctity. Their world lies within each other and thus it rests beyond the mortal chains of temporality.
5) Compare and contrast how three of the following works deal with the problem of time and/or the inevitability of death:
Keeping in line with the conventional Elizabethan sonnets, Shakespeare's sonnet 73 deals with the theme of permanence and transience; of death and mutability through a series of imageries. The sonnet begins with an image of isolation and estrangement whereby the monosyllabic nature of the words used emphasizes upon the inevitability of death. The melancholic nature pervading throughout the sonnet iterates death as an absolute reality. The speaker has a tremendous feeling of loss and seems to brood over an impending death. The tension in his mind is apparent in his description of his existence as one which has reached the "twilight" after sunset or as a fire which is on its death bed. The poet looks upon life as a transient phase which would be soon terminated by Death just like the darkness of night which encloses the light of day.
The utter helplessness of the speaker along with his self pitiable condition, something which he describes in the historical allusion of "Bare ruin'd choirs" caused by the plunders of Henry VIII, shows the colossal sense of waste which the speaker associates with death.
Almost as a contrast, in Marvell's To His Coy Mistress, the poet makes a bold negation of death by using an approach which is essentially carpe diem. In contrast to the apparent immediacy of the verses and its graceful witticisms, the argumentative nature of the poem has a latent fear of death. However, unlike the idea in Shakespeare's sonnet 73, the robust narrator of the poem, urges his beloved to indulge in an immediate celebration of life. Here the theme of death is not looked upon as an invincible identity, but as one which can definitely be put aside by indulging in the physical and tangible pleasures of life. One may argue that the narrator is always aware of "Time's Winged chariot" hurrying near or the fact that the lovers do not have "world enough and time". But, keeping into mind that these are only ploys which the Marvellian lover adopts in order to frighten his beloved into submission, the idea of the severity of death is certainly minimized.
The poem deals with the theme of death in a very Brownian manner, whereby the lover speaks of eternalizing the moment. The lover poses as the Eternal Male who wants to create an eternity with his beloved by means of the ferocity of love. Interestingly, the military imagery along with the animal imagery used by the poet so as to create this eternal world like the "amorous bird of prey" makes a role reversal of the pursuer-pursued equation. Unlike the acceptance of death in Gray's Elegy or the helplessness of the speaker in the Shakespearean sonnet, the Marvellian lover, sees death not as the eventual reality, but as something whose eventuality can be skirted around if not totally conquered.
In Gray's Elegy, the idea of death is seen as leveller which deems it a universal quality. In contrast to the apparent conflict between time and space in the Shakesperean sonnets, Gray's poem looks upon death as an entity which equates all. Thus, he eulogizes the qualities of an unknown hamlet, warning his readers not to underestimate them or their qualities, for he believes that all individuals become what they are by virtue of their subject positions. Since all "roads of glory lead but to the grave", Gray emphasizes on the qualities of the unknown hamlet whose latent talents were never discovered. However, what is interesting to notice is the fact that when Gray laments the passing away of the village poet or the latent qualities of the villagers which lies buried in the graves, never to be discovered by mankind again, he seems to sing a melody of sorrow and waste which death brings upon. It is in this sense of loss that the poem is similar to the Shakespearean sonnet. Read More
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