Essay - Gender Criticism of Poetry: to His Coy Mistress' by Andrew...


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Gender Criticism of Poetry:

To his Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell versus "When I am dead my dearest" by Christiana Rossetti—A masculine defiance of mortality through sexuality, a female acceptance of the inevitable nature of death

When examining the poem "To his Coy *****" by ***** Marvell, in comparison to the ***** "When I am dead my dearest" by Christiana Rossetti one can see that, although both explore a similar theme of the transience of human sexual life and physical, romantic love in the face of mortality each poet approaches t***** ********** in very different ways, based on the gendered approaches ***** each author towards sexual congress and religious faith. At first, it might seem to be unfair to compare the male Cavalier poet with the Victorian member of the Oxford Movement Christina Rossetti. Marvell lived an active ***** as a court poet, soldier, ***** adventurer. Rossetti lived a quiet and retiring life at home, ***** did most women of her day, although she was intim*****ely involved in the pre-Raphaelite movement spearheaded by her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (Marsh, 1995)

However, both poems take the form ***** apostrophes or addresses ***** the mind of ***** poet, to an absent *****r. Rossetti's alternative title for her work is "song" or a lyric voice to the poet's lover *****fter her *****, while Andrew Marvell's speaker in "To His Coy Mistress" *****vokes "Petrarch***** convention, a poetic mode origin*****ting in the fourteenth century ***** which a ***** lover uses ex*****ggerated metaphors to appeal ***** his female beloved." (Ephraim, p.1)

Yet in contrast to Rossetti, Marvell begs his beloved to engage in a tryst with him because of the transient ***** of human life. Through *****ity, Marvell states, human beings may avoid or at least may defy death.

***** the poet states, his mind is constantly filled ***** thoughts of h***** impending demise, and of the shortness of ***** life, both his own and his mistresses.' at my back ***** al***** hear

Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near;

And yonder *****l before us lie

Deserts of vast eternity.

*****'s poem's ***** famous lines are:

Thy beauty shall no more be found,

*****, in thy marble vault, shall sound

My echoing song; then worms shall try

That long-preserved virginity,

And your quaint honor turn to dust,

And in***** ashes all my lust:

***** grave's a fine and private place,

But none, I think, do there embrace.

***** *****, Rossetti *****gins her poem with these lines. "When I am ***** my de*****st, sing no sad songs for me." In contrast to the masculine speaker of Marvell's poem, Rossetti accepts death ***** how death ends love and human physical desire, ra*****r than desiring to, as Marvell does:

Let us roll all our strength ***** *****

Our sweetness up into one ball,

And tear our pleasures with rough strife

********** the iron gates of life:

*****, though we can*****t make our sun

Stand still, yet we will ***** him run.

In comparing these two apostrophic poems to the *****'s *****s,

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