The Characteristics Of The Metaphysical Poets
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What are the main characteristics of the metaphysical poets?
(With reference to ‘The Flea’, ‘The Apparition’ and ‘To His Coy Mistress’)
A characteristic is a distinguishing quality, attribute or trait applied to something to make it similar to something else. The two metaphysical poets that we will consider are John Donne and Andrew Marvell. Although these two poets were both writtig in the 17th Century both had completely different upbringings and experiences throughout their lives.
Andrew Marvell was born in Yorkshire, on March 31st 1621 to the Rev. Andrew Marvell, and his wife Anne. When Marvell was three years of age, the family moved to Hull, where Rev. Marvell became lecturer in Holy Trinity Church. He was educated at the Hull Grammar School, and in 1633 he matriculated as a Sizar of Trinity College, Cambridge. Two poems by Marvell, one in Greek, one in Latin, were printed in the “Musa Cantabrigiensis” in 1637. In 1638 Marvell was admitted a Scholar of Trinity College, and took his B.A. degree in the same year. A few days after receiving his scholarship, Marvell's mother died. He remained a few more years in residence, leaving Cambridge only after his father's death, by drowning.
In 1650, Marvell became the tutor of twelve-year-old Mary Fairfax (later Duchess of Buckingham), daughter of Sir Thomas Fairfax, retired Lord General of the parliamentary forces. At the Yorkshire seat of the Fairfax family, Nun Appleton House, Marvell seems to have written, over a period of about three years, most of his non-satiric English poems. Marvell, who had been a supporter of the king, Charles I, under the commonwealth, became a supporter of Cromwell. In the summer of 1657, Marvell tutored Cromwell’s nephew and ward, William Dutton, living at Eton.
Starting in 1659, Marvell was elected M.P. for his hometown of Hull, and he continued to represent it until his death, Marvell was engaged in political activities, taking p...
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