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Themes

Ah the subtle art of persuasion. In the case of "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love", the word "art" can be taken both literally and figuratively. The speaker of the poem has cleverly and artfully designed what he thinks will be a winning argument, but he has used art, or artifice, to pull it off in the form of poetry. Does the speaker succeed? Does it matter? Tell us what you think, and remember… be convincing.

Questions About Persuasion

  1. The speaker repeats the phrase "come live with me, and be my love" three times in the poem. Do you think this is in an effort to be persuasive? Is it desperate? Is it something else?
  2. What does the speaker's use of arguments and promises tell us about the addressee's potential thoughts about shacking up? 
  3. Do you find the speaker's argument convincing? If yes, why? If not, what should he do to make it a more appealing offer?
  4. Is the speaker trustworthy? Why or why not? How can you tell? Does this affect his persuasiveness? How?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

This dude is totally convincing. He basically promises the object of his affections a long, torturous camping trip, complete with really weird outfits and awkward serenades.

The speaker of this poem is persuasive, but untrustworthy. Which means the addressee should run for her life.

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