To His Coy Mistress Questions and Answers
by Andrew Marvell

To His Coy Mistress book cover
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How is "To His Coy Mistress" a three-part argument?

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The speaker in Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" makes three arguments to convince his lady to cavort with him: he is in love with her, time is fleeting, and her beauty will fade.

The first argument the speaker makes is that he does love the woman that he's propositioning. He explains that he would spend tens of thousands of years praising her beauty if he had that much time. There is nothing about her that makes him want to rush. He finds perfection and loveliness in every aspect of her, from her heart to her surface beauty. This is an attempt to flatter and impress her.

Next, he explains...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 526 words.)

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"To His Coy Mistress" is a poem written in the voice of a man to a modest lady lover. The author uses time and space aspects to express his feelings in a charming and persuasive manner. The flow of thoughts is arranged in a three-section argument. In the first section, the speaker emphasizes on his willingness to shower his lover with glorious love in a world where time is not a limiting factor. Marvell uses the phrase, "my vegetable love” (11), to show that his love for the lady would continue to grow over time. He further explains that he would spend days admiring her and praising her physical beauty. Her modesty would not be a problem because she deserves quality time and attention. Unfortunately, there is limited time and the lady's coyness seems to come in the way of a potential romantic connection.

In the second part, the author focuses on the realities of the present. Marvell reminds the lover that they are both mortals and must utilize the available time appropriately. He states, "time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near" (22), to emphasize on the swift nature of time. Soon the woman's beauty will fade and later they will both die. Her "long-preserved virginity" (28), will go to waste and the grave will deny them the pleasures of love.

In the last section, the speaker takes on the task of encouraging the lover to open up for physical connection while there is time and passion. He insists on the importance of taking advantage of youthful love. The speaker concludes by insinuating that taking the romantic connection to the next level will not stop time. However, each passing moment will be an opportunity for mutual enjoyment.