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Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

Though no setting is explicitly stated, we're imagining this poem set in a courtroom. We know it's a love poem and all, but listen to the way it's presented. The speaker gives us this list of evidence, and really digs into the details. He runs down the charges against his mistress as if he were an attorney, and then, at the last moment, he makes a sudden appeal for her.

Think about the places you would usually set such a poem. It's too mean to be set in the mistress's bedroom, with the speaker whispering in her ear. He's having too much fun to imagine him sitting alone in his room dreaming about her. Instead we see him pacing up and down in front of the jury, admitting that his client does indeed have bad breath, but then asking them to let her off anyway. Maybe he turns to the judge to deliver a dramatic point here and there, like that one about the goddess (line 11). Then at last, we can almost hear him bang on the table and say, "Ladies and gentleman of the jury, even though my client is unattractive and reeks, she still deserves to be loved!"

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