To His Coy Mistress Questions and Answers
by Andrew Marvell

To His Coy Mistress book cover
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The argument of "To His Coy Mistress," a carpe diem, can be divided into three parts. What are these three divisions?

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Marvell's narrator uses three methods: humor through hyperbole, fear through imagery of death, and finally, imagery about the fierce pleasures of sex to try to persuade his beloved to make love to him. This a classic carpe diem (seize the day) poem. It is based on the premise that one should enjoy life now, because tomorrow one might die.

The narrator addresses a beloved who apparently is shy or "coy" about making love. He first teases her, saying if he had all the time in the world to woo her, he would gladly spend 200 years praising each breast and 30,000 years on the rest of her body. Unfortunately, he notes, time is speeding along quickly, like a "winged chariot hurrying near." They don't have time, he argues, for all this wooing.

The narrator then turns serious, reminding his beloved that she will die sooner or later (who knows when?) and plays on her fears of death. He pictures her in a vault with worms crawling through her. He notes the grave is not a place of warmth where people...

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