Study Guide

To His Coy Mistress Calling Card

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Calling Card

Experiments with Persona

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 "Bermudas," the poem’s persona is actually a group of people singing on an "English boat." In "A Dialogue Between the Soul and the Body," the personae are the soul and the body. Marvell doesn’t shy away from the female persona, either. In "The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn" (could he have found a longer title, maybe?), the speaker is, as you probably guess, a woman. All of Marvell’s speakers are witty, use surprising images, and rhyme. His work also usually contains some deep philosophical questions, like how sex and time might be related in the poem that we study today. The more Marvell you read, the easier it becomes to see what distinguishes him from other poets.

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