Carpe Diem Represents a State of Mind Essay

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¶ … Carpe Diem" represents a state of mind. It is a way to live that captures every moment as if it were going to be the last. In the poems, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick and "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell, this concept is thoroughly embraced. Both of these poems represent the theme of time. Time is something that goes by too quickly for it not to be appreciated and for life-changing moments to be acted upon. In order to show this, both poems cleverly use poetic devices to make their themes more apparent, however, each poem represents its resounding theme in its own fashion.

"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" demonstrates the passage of time. It does this by utilizing personification methods to fully encapsulate the particular meaning. In lines one through four, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, / Old Time is still a-flying; / and this same flower that smiles today, / Tomorrow will be dying" the passage of time is represented by a flower. The poet projects human characteristics onto this flower to demonstrate that something beautiful, ripe, and young will be here right now, but it could be dead at any moment. This is exactly what humans will go through. One day people are young and at an age where anything can be done, but before people know it, all that youth and beauty is gone and the only thing left to look forward to is death.

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Just as "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" shows, "To His Coy Mistress" also uses personification as a method of portraying the theme: the passage of time. In the last two lines of the poem, lines 45 and 46, "Thus, though we cannot make our sun / Stand still, yet we will make him run" the sun is also given human characteristics, just as the flower was in Herrick's poem. The author uses the sun to represent the evolvement of time (since the sun rises every morning and sets every night) and gives it an action of running because at the end of the day, the passage of time is something that we cannot control, therefore, it needs to be embraced and taken advantage of.

Essay on Carpe Diem Represents a State of Mind. Assignment

Although both poems use personification as a poetic mechanism to further support the overarching theme of embracing time, they also portray this in different ways from one another. "To His Coy Mistress" is big on using hyperboles to show the intense passage of time and the feelings that it brings, which makes this poem one that portrays this concept best. He uses a variety of exaggerated phrases to portray the speed of time, "...I would / Love you ten years before the Flood, / and you should, if you please, refuse / Till the conversion of the Jews." Clearly it would be impossible to realistically live this long, but the point here is to show without a doubt how long the narrator is willing to wait for his love. In Herrick's poem, symbolism is used widely to show this relationship with time instead. The sun and the flower all stand for a way to capture time and appreciate time.


In Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" many difficulties and tribulations are overcome to finally achieve happiness. This play contains every element that Shakespeare is known for tragedy, irony, and of course, happiness. However, it is the theme of the play that causes a long-lasting effect on the readers. The element of choice is depicted in every aspect of the play. Therefore, the overarching theme seems to be apparent throughout the characters' interactions with one another. Choice can sometimes be taken for granted, but as the characters in this play demonstrate, choice can have dire consequences.

Choices are concurrent in Shakespeare's play, "Merchant of Venice." The first evidence of choice comes with Antonio choosing to lend Bassino the money that he desperately needs in order to woo Portia. Since Antonio has all his money in other investments, he instead chooses to tell Bassino that he could borrow money from someone else on behalf of Antonio's own credit. Bassino borrows money from Shylock, who despises Antonio, but chooses to agree to lend the money because of the stipulations attached to it. The words, "For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound" seals Antonio's fate and sets up the remainder of the story.

The theme of choice is fully embraced by Portia's character. It becomes ironic how Portia does not get a chance to choose who it is that she wants to marry, "But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me a husband. O me, the word 'choose'! I may neither choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike." However Bassino is the one that gets a choice in the matter and actually chooses the correct casket in order to win Portia's hand in marriage. It is then revealed that Portia indeed did end up with the person whom she wanted to be with. The entire choice scheme becomes the main turning point in the story. It is this that sets off the climax and remainder of the story in the play. Antonio is already awaiting his death for his previous choice, but Bassino's marriage to Portia actually ends up providing a financial stand and safety background for Antonio.

A final proof for the overarching theme of choice is the ordeal with Shylock. It begins with Shylock choosing to not forgive Antonio for his debt. It is understandable that Shylock wants to punish Antonio for his inability to fulfill his end of the contract, but when the chance comes for Shylock to choose to get paid multiple times the amount that he was owed, he chose to ignore that option, "I'll have my bond. Speak not against my bond" and instead chooses to attempt to murder Antonio anyway. In a twist of events though, the lawyer (who is Portia in drag disguise) turns the situation around in a way that Shylock no longer has a choice in any matter and he is instead guilty of crimes against Christianity. When the choice of forgiving Shylock for torturing Antonio is present, Portia instead chooses to the turn the situation around on Shylock and it is he who ends up losing everything over his choices.

Despite the all the characters' complaints about their lack of choice in certain situations, they ultimately decide their own fate by means of their own choices. Antonio chooses to allow Bassino to use Antonio's name when borrowing money; Portia's inability to choose her husband ends with Bassino choosing the right casket to marry Portia; and Shylock's inability to choose to let go, ultimately seals his unfortunate fate. The theme of choice ends up defining the entire play.


The day came when two daughters had to each choose a path in their lives. The oldest daughter, chose the path of further education, just as the parents had wanted her to. However, a year later when the time came for the younger daughter to do the same, she chose not to pursue her education. Instead, she took her college savings and decided to explore the world -- to find herself.

The oldest daughter went to an Ivy League college and graduated at the top of her class. She was declared a Master in her craft and upon completing her years of study, she decided to go back to her family and help with the family business. To her, it was more important that she share her educational insight with her family who had given so much to her, than it was for her to pursue her own career goals.

While the oldest daughter was getting the most benefit that she could from her educational funding, the youngest daughter instead was out exploring the world. She experienced her life to the fullest -- something that she had always felt she needed. The youngest daughter felt that she had always been held back by her family's aspirations for her, so she decided to do what was in her own self-interest. She traveled for years, until the day that her money ran out. She was no longer able to afford the lifestyle that she had held for that long and was on the verge of being homeless and starving. She realized at that moment that she was in the wrong and that her family all along was right.

Upon the youngest daughter's realization that she indeed should have pursued further education and that she needed her family, she went back to ask for forgiveness from her parents. She wanted to work her way up in the family business in order to further prove her regret for her actions. Much to her dismay, her parents embraced her the moment she came back home. She was quickly forgiven and her parents threw a party to celebrate her return to the family.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Carpe Diem Represents a State of Mind.  (2012, April 2).  Retrieved January 26, 2021, from

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"Carpe Diem Represents a State of Mind."  2 April 2012.  Web.  26 January 2021. <>.

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"Carpe Diem Represents a State of Mind."  April 2, 2012.  Accessed January 26, 2021.