English Essay About Love
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Love is portrayed in many ways in poems throughout the ages. In this essay I will compare Carol Ann Duffys Valentine published in 1993 and John Donnes The Flea written in the 17th Century. Although written at very different times they both share the theme of love being personified as an object, showing the meaning of love through an object. I am going to compare the thoughts and feelings of love portrayed in both poems and how love is shown differently.
Love is shown in many different ways throughout the ages. Carol Ann Duffy has a very sardonic sense of humour which makes its presence felt in most of her poems. Especially when exploring love. Her poem Valentine was not just written for the occasion or what the Day means to her. Love is not just an intimation of intimacy but a deeper understanding too. This is shown in the first line of Valentine. “Not a red rose or a satin heart” This quote does not only show Duffys sardonic sense of humour but a deep statement about love. The expression “Red Rose” portrays passion and love. The Red Rose is a symbol of love. The word “Not” changes the meaning of this line though. One interpretation could be that Love is too deep to understand or to describe. Imagery is portrayed in both poems, while Duffy personifies love as layers of an onion Donne explores love being like a flea. “I give you an onion.” This line is repeated throughout the poem and is used to portray/symbolise love. This unusual imagery could suggest describing love as bitterness that makes it all the more sweet that it could blind you with tears. This could portray a break up but also could portray the layers of a relationship and the steps needed to make a relationship work. Love is also personified as “a moon wrapped in brown paper” which radiates light like the careful undressing of love. This could relate to the palpable meaning of love in the early stages before love is fully realized.
Donne manages to use the more unpleasant aspect of the fleas bloodsucking to his advantage. In the first of the three stanzas, he merely uses the flea as a symbol of union. Donne, through symbolic images, not only questions the rights of coveting virginity but also the importance of sex as it advantages to life. “Our two bloods mingled be” This quote supports the question and the word “mingled” suggests the closeness between them. “Two bloods mingled” portrays the idea of being tightly inclined, in bed together. This gives the reader a negative attitude and could seem to the female reader of the male taking advantage of the female.
In the time of Donnes The Flea the renaissance was key, with all sorts of poets using a flea to personify love. This poem is a symbol of love and is very personal from the speaker at the start, “Mark but this flea, and mark in this, how little that which deniest me is” A flea is small and frustrating