Marvell’s poem “To His Coy Mistress” is written to his beloved lady who is shy and coy and has not been responding to his love. It seems that Marvell tried to approach the lady but failed to do so. Therefore, the author wrote the poem to try to persuade the lady to seize the day and enjoy the love. Marvell uses a lot of imagery to support his argument. The thesis of the poem is that life is short, and they should make love while they are young. I think the poem is beautiful. The author develops many different assumptions in the stanzas and uses rhymes to reinforce his sound and statement. However, if I were the lady he was writing to, I would find his argument not reliable enough for me.
The poem consists of three stanzas. In the first stanza, he illustrates a romantic image and explains that he would respect her coyness and be patient if he had had enough time. In contrast to the first stanza, the second stanza is not romantic anymore. Instead, Marvell depicts death and laments that life is so short. He sounds more urgent in this stanza and argues that one should seize the moment before death. In the last stanza, he urges the coy lady to make love to him while they are young.
In the whole poem, Marvell uses deductive logic to develop his argument. The first stanza suggests that time is used for love, which is the major premise of his argument. The minor premise is that life is short, and we need to make the most use of time from the second stanza. And then he reaches a conclusion in the third stanza that, life is short and we need to make love now to make the most use of time. In my opinion, there are two kinds of fallacies in his argument. Firstly, it is a non-sequitur argument, in which the conclusion does not follow the premises. There is an underlying assumption in Marvell’s argument that love equals sex. As far as I am concerned, love and sex are closely intertwined yet very different. However, Marvell does not adequately address the problem in the poem. Meanwhile, there is an all-or-nothing fallacy in the major premise. Marvell assumes that time is for love or nothing. Time could also be used for other ways to make the most use of time. The major premise is invalid as well.
According to Unit 5, reliability refers to “the degree of confidence that is placed in the truth of a proposition”. Although Marvell provides different evidence to support his argument, most evidence is based on premises or assumptions, which lacks strong support for its reliability. Therefore, if I were the mistress he was writing to, I would find his argument is not sufficiently true to believe.
Marvell, Andrew. To his coy mistress. ProQuest LLC, 2004.