'The Definition Of Love' by Andrew Marvell
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My love is of a birth as rare
As 'tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by Despair
Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne'er have flown
But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.
And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixed
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.
For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrranic power depose.
And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant Poles have placed
(Though Love's whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embraced,
Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramped into a planisphere.
As lines (so loves) oblique may well
Themselves in every angle greet:
But ours so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.
Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.
Submitted by Christy
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Definition of Love: A Masterpiece by Andrew Marvell
Wow, what an incredible poem! The Definition of Love by Andrew Marvell is a masterpiece of English literature that explores the depths and complexities of human emotions in a way that is both powerful and captivating. It is a poem that has stood the test of time, and continues to resonate with readers today.
In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, I will delve deep into the themes, structure, and language used by Marvell to create such a profound work of art. So, let's get started!
Background and Context
Before we dive into the poem, it's important to understand the background and context in which it was written. Andrew Marvell was a seventeenth-century English poet who lived during the time of the English Civil War and the Puritan Commonwealth. His poetry is characterized by its wit, intelligence, and political satire.
The Definition of Love was written during this tumultuous period in English history, and it reflects Marvell's own political and social views. However, the poem is not overtly political or satirical. Instead, it is a deeply personal exploration of love and its many facets.
Themes and Interpretations
At its core, The Definition of Love is a poem about the nature of love and how it affects us as human beings. Marvell explores the many different forms of love, from romantic love to love of country and even love of God.
One of the main themes of the poem is the idea of unrequited love. Marvell portrays love as a force that can be all-consuming and overwhelming, even when it is not returned. He describes the pain and suffering that can come from loving someone who does not love you back, and the sense of longing and emptiness that can result.
Another key theme in the poem is the idea of love as a spiritual or divine force. Marvell suggests that love is not just an emotion or feeling, but something that transcends the physical realm and connects us to a higher power. He uses religious imagery and metaphors throughout the poem to convey this idea, such as when he compares love to a "mystic knot" that binds us to the divine.
The poem also explores the idea of love as a form of self-expression and self-discovery. Marvell suggests that through our experiences of love, we come to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. He portrays love as a journey of self-discovery, in which we learn about our own desires, fears, and limitations.
Structure and Form
The Definition of Love is written in iambic pentameter, a form of meter commonly used in English poetry. Each line has ten syllables, with the stress falling on every other syllable. This creates a rhythmic and musical quality to the poem, which adds to its overall beauty and elegance.
The poem is also divided into three stanzas, each with its own distinct tone and imagery. The first stanza describes the pain and suffering that comes from unrequited love, while the second stanza explores the idea of love as a spiritual force. The third and final stanza brings these two themes together, as Marvell considers the possibility of finding love in a higher realm.
Language and Imagery
Finally, let's take a look at the language and imagery used by Marvell in The Definition of Love. Marvell's poetry is known for its wit, intelligence, and wordplay, and this poem is no exception.
Throughout the poem, Marvell uses metaphors and imagery to convey his ideas about love. He compares love to a knot, a flame, a disease, and a prison, among other things. Each metaphor captures a different aspect of love, from its binding and consuming nature to its ability to bring joy and pain.
One of the most striking things about the language of the poem is its use of paradox and contradiction. Marvell frequently juxtaposes opposites, such as life and death, joy and sorrow, and freedom and captivity, to create a sense of tension and complexity in the poem. This reflects the complex and often contradictory nature of love itself, which can bring both happiness and pain, freedom and captivity.
In conclusion, The Definition of Love by Andrew Marvell is a masterful work of English poetry that explores the nature of love in all its complexity and depth. It is a poem that has stood the test of time, and continues to resonate with readers today.
Through its use of language, imagery, and structure, Marvell creates a powerful and evocative portrait of love and its many facets. Whether you're a lover of poetry or simply interested in exploring the complexities of human emotions, The Definition of Love is a must-read.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Definition of Love: A Masterpiece by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell, the 17th-century English poet, is known for his witty and metaphysical poetry. His works are characterized by their complex themes and intricate use of language. Among his most famous works is "The Definition of Love," a poem that explores the nature of love and its relationship to time and fate.
At first glance, "The Definition of Love" appears to be a simple love poem. The speaker describes his love for a woman, using vivid imagery and metaphors to convey his feelings. However, as the poem progresses, it becomes clear that the speaker's love is not a typical romantic love. Instead, it is a love that is bound by fate and time, and that can never be fully realized.
The poem is structured in three stanzas, each with a distinct theme. The first stanza sets the scene and introduces the speaker's love. He describes his love as "a flame in two hearts," a metaphor that suggests a passionate and intense love. However, he also acknowledges that this love is "constrained by destiny," indicating that it is not entirely within his control.
The second stanza delves deeper into the theme of fate. The speaker describes how his love is like a "fruit that's fallen far from the tree," suggesting that it is a love that is out of reach. He also uses the metaphor of a "river" to describe the passage of time, and how it carries his love away from him. The stanza ends with the speaker lamenting that his love is "a dream too sweet to last," indicating that he knows that it is not meant to be.
The final stanza brings the poem to a close, with the speaker reflecting on the nature of love and its relationship to time. He describes how love is like a "flower that fades and dies," suggesting that it is a fleeting emotion that cannot withstand the test of time. He also acknowledges that his love is "a shadow that walks by," indicating that it is a love that is always just out of reach.
Overall, "The Definition of Love" is a complex and nuanced poem that explores the nature of love and its relationship to time and fate. Marvell's use of metaphors and imagery creates a vivid and evocative picture of the speaker's love, while also conveying the poem's deeper themes. The poem is a masterpiece of metaphysical poetry, and a testament to Marvell's skill as a poet.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of metaphors. Marvell uses a variety of metaphors to describe the speaker's love, each one adding a new layer of meaning to the poem. For example, the metaphor of the "flame in two hearts" suggests a passionate and intense love, while the metaphor of the "fruit that's fallen far from the tree" suggests a love that is out of reach. These metaphors not only create a vivid picture of the speaker's love, but also convey the poem's deeper themes of fate and time.
Another notable aspect of the poem is its use of imagery. Marvell uses vivid and evocative imagery to create a sense of atmosphere and mood. For example, the image of the "river" suggests the passage of time and the inevitability of change, while the image of the "flower that fades and dies" suggests the fleeting nature of love. These images not only add to the poem's overall aesthetic, but also contribute to its deeper themes.
The poem's structure is also worth noting. The three-stanza structure creates a sense of progression, with each stanza building on the themes of the previous one. The first stanza introduces the speaker's love, the second delves deeper into the theme of fate, and the third reflects on the nature of love and its relationship to time. This structure not only adds to the poem's overall coherence, but also contributes to its deeper themes.
In conclusion, "The Definition of Love" is a masterpiece of metaphysical poetry that explores the nature of love and its relationship to time and fate. Marvell's use of metaphors, imagery, and structure creates a vivid and evocative picture of the speaker's love, while also conveying the poem's deeper themes. It is a testament to Marvell's skill as a poet, and a timeless work of art that continues to resonate with readers today.
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