How is the strength of love presented in Romeo and Juliet and in at least two metaphysical poems
In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘To his Coy Mistress’ and ‘A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’, the strength of love is presented in many different ways. In ‘To his coy mistress’, we can tell that the strength of love present is relatively weak, and seems lustful and more physical. ‘A valediction forbidding mourning’ seems opposite to this as the narrator says that their love is ‘inter-assured of the mind’. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ seems to be a compromise between the two other poems, as the lovers seem to be attached physically and spiritually.
To his Coy Mistress’, by Andrew Marvell seems to be based around the courtly love ethic, where a man is seemingly ‘in love’ with a women of a higher rank who does not return his love. The ‘love’ that the speaker has for the woman in this poem seems to be mainly lust as the speaker is wooing the woman to give him her ‘long preserv’d virginity’. The narrator highlights on her physical appearance which he seems most attracted too like ‘eyes’ and ‘breasts’ but mentions the ‘heart’ last which is symbolic for love.
This could suggest he does not want a romantic relationship emphasising everything is built on lust. The idea of unrequited ‘love’ or ‘lust’ is present both here and in Romeo and Juliet, at the beginning of the play where Romeo’s love for Rosaline is denied; in Act 1 Scene 1, Romeo says, ‘she’ll not be hit with Cupid’s arrow; she hath Dian’s wit’. Romeo admits that Rosaline has vowed to remain “chaste” like “Dian,” the goddess of virginity. Romeo speaks in rhyming couplets when seeing Juliet in Act 1 scene 5, with words such as ‘bright’ and ‘night.
This emphasises the intensity and immediacy of his love. Romeo and Juliet together also speak a sonnet, making them one. On the other hand, the rhyming couplets in To His Coy Mistress are used to make the poem feel more light hearted, rather than as one which is used to express genuine intense emotion. Both texts also use colonial imagery. In ‘To his Coy Mistress, the speaker says, ‘by the Indian Ganges’ side Shouldst rubies find’. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo compares Juliet to ‘a rich jewel in Ethiop’s ear’.
The use of colonial imagery suggests that their love is very great and strong, since at that time Britain was building its empire to achieve that. The idea that time passes too quickly is present in both texts using images of light and the sun. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet denies the approaching of the morning; ‘Yond light is not daylight’. Marvell also associates the sun with the passing of time by personifying the sun, as the speaker says, ‘we cannot make our sun stand still’, suggesting that time passes to quickly.
The fact that in both texts the sun and light is seen mostly as negative images might suggest that the love between the couples are more dominated by lust and physical love. Contrary to ‘To his Coy Mistress’, ‘A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’ by John Donne is a poem which talks of a love which is very spiritual where the lover’s are not bound physically, but mentally; in the poem the speaker says, ‘care less, eyes, lips and hand to miss’. At the end of the poem Donne uses an extended metaphor of a pair of compasses to describe the lovers.
The speaker describes them ‘as stiff twin compasses are two’. This poem talks of a mature love, as there is no uncertainty; ‘Thy firmness makes my circle just and makes me end where I begun. Their parting is also very tranquil and peaceful, with ‘no tea-floods, nor sigh-tempests move’. This is unlike the reaction of Romeo in Act 3 Scene 3 where Romeo learns of his sentence to be banished from Verona. He compares the sentence worse than death; ‘Ha, banishment? Be merciful, say ‘death’’.
During Romeo’s soliloquy in that scene, he repeatedly uses theword ‘banished’. This makes him sound more childish and immature- the word ‘banished’ is spat out as a plosive ‘b’; ‘But ‘banished’ to kill me? ‘Banished? ’. This highlights the desperation he feels about the upcoming separation. Compared to ‘A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’, Romeo’s reaction seems childish, as he cannot stand the physical separation. This perhaps suggests that the strength of love between Romeo and Juliet is not as strong as the love shown in ‘A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’.