The Meaning Through Words
Posted On April 11, 2017
Poetry can be analyzed many different ways. Using language devices can be used to help figure out what the poet is trying to say. You can also get different emotional feelings through the different types of words the poet uses. These devices will be used to analyze two different poems. These poems are ???To His Coy Mistress???, by Andrew Marvell, and ???London???, by William Blake. The time period of each poem is different; ???To His Coy Mistress??? was written in 1681 and ???London??? was written in 1794. Looking at the publishing years of these poems, it is clear that the poems are written over one hundred years apart from each other. The same analyzing techniques can be used to interpret the poems theme or meaning even with this large gap in time between each of the publishing??™s. After a short summarization of each poem the diction will be studied, checking for rhyme scheme and examining words that control the mood and/or the tone of the poem. Metaphors and similes will be pointed out and compared, and Symbolism will be analyzed and interpreted. The theme and meaning will be summarized using the conclusions derived from each of these poetic devices. In the end it will be easy to see how the poems ???To His Coy Mistress???, by Andrew Marvell, and ???London???, by William Blake, can be analyzed focusing on diction, metaphors, similes, and the symbolism each poet uses to figure out the theme and meaning.
???London???, by William Blake, is a poem about the plague in London. The poem gives the feeling of pain and suffering. One of the first things to notice is that the poem is a couplet, written in first person. The poem has sixteen lines, split into four stazas, with the rhyme scheme of abab/cdcd/efef/dgdg. In the first two lines it is established that the poet is talking about a town, but there is also a sense of sarcasm used by Blake. His use of the word ???chartered???, in lines one and two, help to point out how frustrated people were with the government. The lines three and four set the mood of the poem with, ???A mark in every face I meet, / Marks of weakness, marks of woe.??? (Blake. 3-4). The words ???weakness??? and ???woe??? are the first words that set the poem??™s sad mood. Other words that follow the same mood can be seen here, ???In every cry of every man. / In every infant??™s cry of fear,??? (Blake, 5-6). These lines give the feeling of pain and fear. ???And the hapless soldier??™s sigh/Runs in blood down palace-walls.??? (Blake. 11-12) In lines eleven and twelve the words ???hapless???, ???soldier??™s sigh???, and ???Runs in blood??? keep the poem dark and sad. The kind of words that swell these fears are used all the way through to the final stanza. It is worth mentioning Blake??™s use of the word ???Blasts??? in the following lines, ???How the youthful harlot??™s curse / Blasts the new-born infant??™s tear,??? (Blake. 14-15). The choice to use ???blasts??? emphasizes the effects that the prostituting mother has on her child. Not only is the life of the baby in her hands, but the events taking place in the poem will surely have life long effects on the new-born. The final line, ???And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.??? (Blake. 16), keeps with the dark tone of the poem and is a good fit as the last line. The diction used by the poet makes the poem dark and sad by using choice words throughout the poem.
The poem ???London??? also contains the simile found in lines eleven and twelve. The poet chooses to use blood to describe the ???soldier??™s sigh???. This imagery helps to imagine the sigh of the soldier to be long and thick in its sound, like blood. This description also keeps to the mood. Using the word ???blood???, instead of a word like ???syrup???, keeps the poem??™s mood dark.
The symbolism used in the poem is found throughout it. In Blake??™s first two lines, he describes the town referring to ???chartered streets???. This description, added with lines three and four, does well to symbolize the mood of London during that time. In lines five through eight, Blake talks about ???mind-forged manacles I hear??? and compares them to the voices and cries of the people of the town. This stanza symbolizes the suffering of the whole town and touches on how restricted they were during that period. The general feeling and mood the poem sets is that of sadness. The symbolism and similes in the poem describe suffering and pain in London. These attributes draw the conclusion that the theme ???London??? is about a period of suffering of the people of London.
???To His Coy Mistress???, by Andrew Marvell, is a couplet, written in first person, with the rhyme scheme of aa/bb/cc/dd. The poem is a love letter written to his mistress. Marvel tells his mistress about how much he loves her and how he desires her physically. This tone in this poem is set in three parts of the poem. The poet uses lines 1-20 to describe how much he loves his mistress. He compiles his love with the notion that time last forever, evident in the first line, ???Had we but world enough, and time??? (Marvell. 1). This establishes that Marvell is talking about how he feels about her, if time were to last forever. Marvell continues describing his love in timeless way as seen in these lines, ???An hundred years should go to praise / Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze, / Two hundred to adore each breast, / But thirty thousand to the rest:??? (Marvell. 13-16). Marvell is describing his timeless love for his mistress as seen by the years he wishes to spend praising her and her body. This feeling of eternity is quickly interrupted in the following lines, ???But at my back I always hear / Times winged chariot hurrying near;??? (Marvell. 21-22). These lines snap the reader back to reality where time is always running out. From these lines to line thirty-three, the poet consistently references the mortality of man as seen here, ???The graves a fine and private place, / But none I think do there embrace.??? The mood Marvell establishes with lines twenty-one through thirty-three gives the feeling of limited time, being constantly reminded that we will all eventually die. The mood of the poem is changed once again in the following lines, ???Now, therefore, while the youthful hue / Sits on thy skin like morning dew, / And while thy willing soul transpires / At every pore with instant fires,??? (Marvell. 33-36). Marvell is now speaking in the present about his and his mistress??™s desire for one another. These four lines contain a great example of a simile. The poet refers to how his mistress??™s ???youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew???. The words ???morning dew??? provides imagery of something beautiful, but short lived. This helps tie together the first and second part of the poem maintaining both the love he has for his mistress as well as reminding her that time is limited. Marvell??™s third and final part of his poem includes, ???Let us roll all our strength and all / Our sweetness up into one ball, / And tear our pleasures with rough strife / Thorough the iron gates of life.??? (Marvell. 41-44). The poet is talking about becoming one with his lover. He wants to make love to her, as interpreted by lines forty-one and forty-two, until the end of their life together. The symbolism in this poem adds further understanding of the theme. The lines eleven through sixteen talks about the time the poet would dedicate to his mistress. This is not realistic time frames, but it symbolizes the level of his love. The time period described it just how he feels and what he would be will to give to his love. Another example of symbolism is found in the lines twenty-seven through thirty where the poet describes death and rotting flesh. This is not meant to bring on the image of corpses, but it is meant to bring to light the reality of limited time; it gives the moral of seize the day. After analysis, the theme of the poem can be summarized by saying that this poem is about one man??™s love and physical desire for his mistress. The poet does well to describe his love for his mistress as well as implement the restriction of time in hopes that his mistress will have sex with him.
Analysis of a poem can be easy when using language devices. It is good to read a poem over before analyzing it. After a first read-through, studying the diction of the poem is a good way to get a feeling of what the mood of the poem is. Diction can also help a poet emphasize certain words or phrases. Once a good understanding of the diction is reached, further analysis of the poem, using other language devices, will be easier. Similes and metaphors are other great tools used; looking at these, in a poem, will give the read a better understanding of the poet??™s tone. Symbolism is used in almost every poem. It is a great way for the poet to get other points across in the poem as well as provide deeper meaning behind the words. These language devices were used to analyze the poems ???To His Coy Mistress???, by Andrew Marvell, and ???London???, by William Blake. By selecting and analyzing a few lines and choice words, the theme and meaning of a poem was discovered. This shows how the poems ???To His Coy Mistress???, by Andrew Marvell, and ???London???, by William Blake, can be analyzed focusing on diction, metaphors, similes, and the symbolism each poet uses to figure out the theme and meaning.