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English Love and Desire assignment Write a comparison between two poems treatment of love and desire, providing

a detailed analysis of the poems language and the way that the experience of love and desire is represented in the poems. Your two poems should be by two different poets that we have studied in the first section of the unit (i.e. Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Raleigh, Elizabeth I, Barnfield, Shakespeare or Wroth) and should be chosen from the poems included in the Broadview Anthology of British Literature, vol. 2: The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century. For those who do not possess the Broadview Anthology, the poems included in it are listed at the end of this handout. If you wish, you are also allowed to use the Raleigh poems distributed separately in class or one of Shakespeares Sonnets that you might have worked on for the exercise in Tutorial 3. Parameters Feel free to use the preparation that you have done for each of the first three tutorials, including what you discovered when doing word searches etc. You do not need to refer to secondary critical material in this assignment, but you may do so if you find scholarship that helps enrich your account of the poems. All sources should, as usual, be appropriately referenced. In composing your answer you might like to consider some of the questions below. This is only a list of suggestions, though, and not a checklist of what you must include. On no account, try to answer them all! You decide how to frame your comparison in the way you feel is best. 1. How do the poems make use of the Petrarchan tradition of a distant beloved, addressed by an abject lover? 2. Do the poems share any common metaphors, similes or other aspects of figurative language? 1 3. Do the poems make similar, or different, use of the structure of the sonnet? 4. How would you characterize the voice of the poems? 5. Is it possible to compare, or to differentiate, between their treatment of gender, or of the relationship between and within gender groups? 6. Can the narratives of desire in these poems be understood as a way of thinking about political engagement, disenchantment or ambition? A good response to this question will: Tips get straight to specifics. We dont really want to see you starting with very general sentences like, A lot of poems in the sixteenth century dealt with questions of love and desire. You dont have enough words to waste on this kind of thing. Ask yourself, What is the main specific point about love and desire that I want to ta lk about here? and try to get that into your opening. have something specific to say about the way the two poems can be related to each other. Avoid generalities here and try, instead, to find precise grounds for comparison. pay close attention to the multiple ways in which words, and sets of words, are deployed in the poems. There are all sorts of interpretive resources that you might draw on in your attempt to understand this poetry. You can think about metre, rhyme, metaphor, diction etc etc.. But don't include details for the sake of it. Just because you have spotted an interesting formal effect, there is no need to

include it in your account of the poem unless it contributes to the precise aspects of the poem upon which your account is focusing. not use dictionary definitions as determining the meaning of a word. In the tutorials, we have been encouraging you to use the OED in a way that is more productive than simply looking at what a word has to mean. Rather, it should open out a history of specific, but multifarious and ever- changing ways in which words have been used. It is to this variety that you should be aiming to attend, rather than closing your options of

Sonnet 2 astrophil and stella Astrophil describes himself as being a slave, helplessly overcome by love. Desire is repressed somewhat, erotic desire in any case. Sonnet two focuses on the passivity of the experience, of an experience removed from the authors own control and instead being the victim of happenstance or, as he refers to it, cupid. The imagery of cupid distances himself from his own culpability. There are two opposing motifs at work in the sonnet, on the one hand the common petrachan clich of love forcing him to take leave of his wits and reason.

Falling in love is hell. Imagery of the cupid distances himself from responsibility. Analysis 1 SONNET 2 In this sonnet, Astrophil gives us a brief account of how he fell in love with Stella. He uses the image of Cupid shooting him with his arrow throughout the poem, and maintains a somewhat martial and wounded tone throughout. Cupids shot wounds him, but does not make him fall in love with Stella immediatelyHe describes falling in love from lines 5 8 in terms of a sort of battle in which he unwittingly surrenders. He becomes more of a prisoner of love. At length to Loves decrees, I, forced, agreed / Yet with repining at so partial lot. Falling in love Astrophil presents as something that happens almost out of your control, causing you to suffer lost liberty, and being in love turns him into a slave-borne Muscovite.

Analysis 2 Notice in the last couplets of the Sonnet, lines 11 14, how upside down is Astrophils world. He claims I call it praise to suffer tyranny, meaning he worships being under the cruel leadership of his love for Stella. And he employs the remnant of my wit (his last bit of rationality) To make myself believe that all is well / While with a feeling skill I paint my hell. He claims he now tries to convince / fool himself that he is fine while in fact falling in love is hell. The yoking together of extreme terms in the first two sonnets is common throughout Sidneys sonnets and the sonnet tradition. Notice in Sonnet 1 he talks about how his pain might bring Stella pleasure. The spring sunburns his brain. In Sonnet 2, he praises to suffer tyranny, and makes himself believe all is well while I paint my hell. This tradition of oxymoron goes back to the earliest Italian sonnets, in particular, Petrarchs sonnet sequence concerning his unrequited love for Laura. In these sonnets, she is firy ice, and cruelly kind, and all sorts of other contradictory things. Petrarch also established the classic use of hyperbole in love sonnets and poems. Hyperbole means exaggerated descriptions or comparisons, like claiming that your tears create floods, or your woeful sighs stir up storms. Shakespeare, in sonnet 130, makes fun of the Petrachan conceit and hyperbole hysterically This sonnet is, on the one hand, one of the simplest, commonest Petrarchan clichslove has forced me to take leave of my wits and reason, but what can I do?and, on the other, so clever and witty as to run the risk of being downright obscure in its ambiguity. Lets start with what is most clear and accessible. The sonnets idea is laid out in a 3-step outline, similar to the way Shakespeare makes a case in three quatrains, except in this Italian sonnet the third section fills the sestet, and is further subdivided 3-3, Sidneys typical pattern (though, as discussed in my first post,

with the hybrid couplet again evoking the Shakespearean pattern). The outline reads: 1. General description of the problem; 2. shifting to I as the repeated subject of active verbs, a specific and succinct summary of how the speaker got to where he is; and 3. Where he is now, subdivided (a) how he is characterized (a slave enamored of his own slavery); and (b) what he does about it (tries to rationalize). Three of the most striking, yet accessible, devices in the poem: First, the over-punctuation in the second quatrain (to be fair, some of it introduced by modern editing), forcing a halting rhythm that imitates a man being dragged into something against his will. Notice, for example, breaks after each of the first three feet in line 5, and then, when the two-syllable lovd starts to make a smoother (and more optimistic) two-foot phrase, it comes crashing to earth with not. Or the even more disruptive break in the middle of a would-be iambic foot in line 7: if (by contrast) I forced were a simple subjectverb phrase, the line would read simply d cres frced, but in this case, with forced as a past-participial postnominal modifier, the break forces a virtual spondee, d cres , frced; reader and speaker are, in effect, both stopped in their tracks at the same time. Second, the wonderfully quiet-but-dramatic transition from the end of the octave to the start of the sestet. In line 8 the speaker retains some shred of his dignity as he comes to the conclusion of the dragging process: Yet with repining at so partial lot. Imagine here a man being locked in a cell, while still protesting his innocence to his jailer. But apparently, the jailer ignores him, clangs the bars shut, and stalks off down an echoing hallway. The next poignant thought is: Now even that footstep of lost liberty is gone. The prisoner is on his own to adjust to the terms of his imprisonment, and typically (like the stereotypical Russian under the Tsars) he will find a way to embrace it. The suddenly concrete image of a footstep following the entirely abstract description of lines 5-8 is poetry at its greatest. Third, the humorous reference to the remnant of the speakers wit (line 12), when he has not yet explicitly mentioned losing his witan almost homespun joke, but also a clever and understated way to double the meaning contained within an otherwise merely functional lead-in to an idea. So where is the difficulty and the obscurity? Lines 3 and 14. The problems are not closely related, and do not seriously undercut the simple pattern discussed above, so I will just discuss them in isolation: Line 3: The subject phrase known worth is itself a bit of a pauser, and may require the footnote information that this is an autobiographical reference to the fact that Sidney knew a great deal about Penelope Devereux before he considered her a love interest, but even without that knowledge, the phrase is a reasonably clear opposite to love at first sight or the dribbed (i.e., mistaken or misfired) shot of Cupids arrow mentioned in line 1. But the real puzzler is the adverbial phrase in the middle of the verb phrase, in mine of time. The first

instinct, given all the self-preoccupation here, might be to think mine is the possessive meaning my wound, as in: Love breaks some hearts, but has utterly smashed mine. But that instinct can be quickly dismissed: looking backward, the wound in line 2 was already mine, so saying mine in a But clause would be clumsy; and looking forward, the wound is certainly not the object of had full conquest got; the speaker is, and indeed the wound is the instrument of the speakers defeat. The word conquest, in fact, is the key clue here. Conquest of a fortified city was as likely to be attempted by mining (= tunneling under the wall, hence our modern abstract term undermining) as by direct assault, though the latter was certainly more honorable and more likely to be admired. This is part of the point for the dashing soldier Sidney: Love has, in effect, gotten to him by underhanded, sneaky means, when he wasnt properly armed against it. So the in mine part of the phrase has nothing to do with a possessive, but refers to the method by which Love has used known worth to gain the conquest. But that still leaves the seemingly simple phrase of time, which to me is just as hard to sort out. Is it connected to proceed, meaning something as simple as in time proceed? If so, why not say in time proceed, since the meter is the same and of time is not idiomatic for in time? Is it, alternatively, connected to mine, so that time is the entity that is actually being mined? That, too, does not make sense, since time is surely a winner not a loser in the construction that follows. So lets try this: its connected to mine, but the of indicates ownership, so mining is Times instrument for furthering the cause of Love; now that makes more sense, does it not? But it is hardly an intuitive reading! Line 14: The general sense of the final couplet is a paradox similar to Shakespeares I do believe her though I know she lies, only here the idea is I do believe me though I know Im crazy. The somewhat hard part is the apparent paradox-within-a-paradox of While with a feeling skill I paint my hell. I think it is safe to say that feeling skill is an oxymoron, reflecting the same clash between passion and personal control that is a running theme of the whole sonnet sequence. But what, exactly, is the speaker doing with his passionaffected intellect?; what does it mean to paint my hell? There are at least two distinct possibilities, and in this case I think we do well to accept both, and thus enrich the poems meaning through ambiguity; as Benedick says, Theres a double meaning in that! Duncan-Joness endnote opts for Hamlets understanding of paint as giving a false colouring or complexion to, or in the crude American political vernacular, putting lipstick on a pig. So in that sense, the speaker admits to using optimistic descriptions of a love relationship to pretty up what is really a hellish state he has gotten into. It could similarly be said that line 5 of Sonnet 1, I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe refers to putting false make-up on an ugly face (blackness being equated with ugliness in Renaissance-speak). But just as clearly, that line occurs in the midst of a description of the struggle to create art, so it carries the ambiguity of paint as create art. The verb is used in this sense in several other sonnets (70, 81, 93, 98), unambiguously so in 81 (for example), where the speaker seeks to paint poetically a kiss he has received from Stella. So, the simple end of what is already a complex ideaI am deluding myself and putting a false front on a hellish situationis given still more complexity, depth, and meaning with the

layered suggestions (extending Sonnet 1s role as preface to a lengthy sonnet sequence) that (1) the hellish situation is about to be turned into a work of art; and (2) (as Marlowe, Milton, and other writers have variously affirmed), hell is a place between a pair of human ears, and the hell the speaker has described himself as being reluctantly dragged into is in fact a hell of his own making. Thomas Wyatt sonnet 10 Shakespeare shall I compare thee to a summers day