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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

"To His Coy Mistress" takes the form of a dramatic monologue, which pretty much means what it sounds like. The speaker of the poem does all the talking, which makes this a monologue, a speech by a...

Speaker

Our speaker is anonymous. He could be any man, anywhere. He’s an intense guy. He speaks very beautifully, rhyming everything so that we are barely aware of it and using the perfect word every...

Setting

There are (at least) two layers of setting involved in "To His Coy Mistress" – the setting we imagine, and the setting that the speaker imagines.In terms of where the poem is set – wher...

Sound Check

Poetry is an art obsessed by sound, and there is a blurry line between songwriting and poetry. One big distinction is that songwriters often write the music that goes with their lyrics, while the "...

What's Up With the Title?

What exactly is a "coy mistress?" As we say over and over in this guide, here’s an opportunity to use your imagination. To provide fuel for our imaginations, let’s look at the meanings...

Calling Card

Andrew Marvell conducts many memorable experiments in persona. Persona is the mask, personality, or character created by an author or actor, similar to the narrator or narrators in a novel. In "Ber...

Tough-O-Meter

Even before we look up any unfamiliar words, this poem is pretty "easy," in the sense that we can understand that the speaker uses an argument about time to try to convince his mistress to have sex...

Sex Rating

Sex is a major theme in "To His Coy Mistress," and one can easily read sex into almost any line of the poem. All the sex in the poem happens in the mind of the speaker in a variety of hypothetical...
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