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Comparison Of “Passionate Shepherd To His Love” By Christopher Marlowe

5 Pages 1352 Words

As human beings we deal with life essentially two ways, either realistically or idealistically. Human tendency is to see things the way we want to see them; the way that is most appealing to us. Yet society teaches us to take a step back from what we see and look at it from a more objective place. Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh have captured the essence of these two phenomenons through the writings of their contrasting poems “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” by Marlowe and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” by Raleigh. For the half of the world that is guided by their dreams and fantasies, the idealistic view of the Shepherd in Marlowe’s poem is a perfect illustration. Whereas, the more realistic answer from the Nymph in Raleigh’s work portrays the other half of the population that is more grounded and levelheaded. Though the structure of the two poems is almost identical, they both exhibit that all humans, regardless of age, race or creed fall into either of these two categories.
The work by Marlowe is a prime example of the idealistic point of view that one’s mind or body is what constitutes reality. The views of love and nature seen in the poem fit perfectly into this category. The subject of this poem is a shepherd who is courting a young lady. He is trying to persuade her to come live with him and be his love in eternal bliss through his many promises both tangible and otherwise. With beds of roses, hats of flowers and slippers with gold buckles he repeatedly tries to convince her that living with him will, as he says, “all the pleasures prove” (2). In the 3rd stanza the shepherd’s focus shifts from the pleasures that nature can offer, to what he is willing to provide her with, as shown in lines 21 and 22, where he gives his word that “[t]he shepherds’ swain shall dance and sing,/ for thy delight each May morning.” These are the things the shepherd promises, yet knows he cannot...

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