“To His Coy Mistress” -- Andrew Marvell
The subject of Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” has to do with a gentleman who is trying to persuade a woman to engage in sexual intercourse with him,
but the theme of the poem has more to do Carpe Diem, or seize the day. The poem suggests that this older man is eager to have sex with this woman, but she is hesitant. Although the narrative is complexly told, Marvell enriches his poem about seizing the day by developing an implicit theme through his subtle use of such elements of poetry as allusion, figurative language, imagery, rhyme, setting, and tone.
To begin to slow the passage of time in his poem, Marvell makes reference to past and future events. His allusions to religious scripture early on in the poem give the impression of vast ages passing, spanning most of time itself. A passage from the poem states, “...I would Love you ten years before the Flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews.” (lines 7-10) The period from ten years before the flood, occurring in Genesis some time after creation, until the conversion of the Jews, which was to happen at Armageddon, is spread throughout a massive amount of time. Therefore, he is telling the woman that he will love her all of that time.
Figurative language can also be cited in this poem. Lines 11-12 read, “My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires, and more slow.” The first line presents the narrator's love as a slow-growing vegetable or what many readers would perceive as a vine. The second line illustrates an image is of a slow growing vine, which slowly works its way through an area overtaking tremendous spaces until it becomes “vaster than empires.” This relates back to the theme in such a way that the growth of the vine would take far longer than humans have to live. The vegetable which returns year after year, outlives people's short lifespan and continues to grow. Obviously, time is not important to the...