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How are different attitudes to love explored by the poets in three of the poems in Hearts and Partners Essay

Each poem displays a different attitude to love. “Our Love Now” is about the end of love, and King explores two separate attitudes within his poem. Marvell in “To His Coy Mistress” explores the more sexual side of love. “The Beggar Woman” explores the attitudes of men and women toward love. “To His Coy Mistress” describes a man who is attempting to seduce a woman. The poem begins with the promise of love (“long love’s day”). Later in the second verse, however, we learn that this is just an attempt to seduce his mistress into bed.

The attitude Marvell shows is one that sees love as a method to get sex and pleasure (“Now let us sport”). This is similar to the attitude of the man in “The Beggar Woman”, who is only interested in sex and has no real desire for love. By contrast, King’s woman has no interest in love or sex, only in teaching the gentleman a lesson. This is a rather unusual attitude to love. Even more strange is the depiction of a female figure with power because, when the poem was written, women were seen to be less powerful than men.

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Whereas the other two poems are about ongoing love, “Our Love Now” is about the end of love. Lowery explores the emotions and attitudes to love of two lovers who are breaking up. In “Our Love Now” the poet uses four extended metaphors, once in a male voice and once in a female voice, to explore his attitudes to love. First, when the metaphor of “the raging storm” is introduced by the male voice, it seems like a positive metaphor about healing and reparation. It is then echoed in a female voice but is no longer positive; it has been twisted into a negative, despairing metaphor.

Lowery also uses the two voices, “I said” and “She said”, to place emphasis on the gap between the lovers. He uses the metaphors very effectively to show the reader clearly the differing attitudes of the lovers to love, emphasising the stark contrast between their feelings and the rift between them. Marvell also makes effective use of metaphor, using them to conjure up vivid images like “times winged chariot” to make the emotions and ideas he is communicating more real for the reader.

Marvell also attempts to shock the reader by using some disgusting imagery. This is very effective at grabbing the reader’s attention and showing something of his attitude that love can be very carnal. In contrast to Marvell’s vivid imagery, King uses comedy to explore the love between the Beggar and Gentleman. Using rhyming couplets — a device used primarily in great epic poetry — for “The Beggar Woman” seems rather trivial and the comparison is King’s way of exploring a comic aspect of love.

Lowery uses the structure of “Our Love Now” to emphasis the rift between the lovers. The page is divided clearly into two sections, echoing the rift between the lovers. By making it extremely clear that this is not a dialogue between the lovers, he also emphasises that the love is broken and each lover has a separate attitude to love. Both Marvell and King use structure to separate sections of meaning, splitting their poems into three sections. This makes their attitudes and opinions clear to the reader.

Their poems are written in fairly traditional couplets that are appropriate for love poems. “The Beggar Woman” uses a third-person narrator. This allows the poet to make comments on the action. The voice seems to favour the woman, perhaps an insight into the poet’s true attitude to love, but is primarily there to tell the story. Marvell’s poem, by contrast, is written in the first person. It seems to be a poem from a man to his mistress, a device that makes the audience feel personally involved and closer to the poet.

However, it is interesting to note that the title is ‘His’ rather than ‘My’ Coy Mistress. This could be Marvell’s way of trying to disown the poem and pretending it is not his life he is describing. Unlike both the other poems, “Our Love Now” uses two separate voices, “I said” and “She said”. The second echoes the first but twists it, saying the opposite like a retaliation in an argument. This creates a sense of conflict and distance between the lovers, making their attitude toward love seem totally beyond repair.

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