Love as Joyous Essay
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Both Plath and the Metaphysical Poets show love as joyous by suggesting a strong physical intimacy between themselves and their lovers. Donne, known for his hedonistic ways tried to seduce his lady in the poem ‘To his mistress going to bed” by relating her undressing to a holy analogy. “Hallowed temple… heaven… paradise… Angels” gives a sense of purity about the relationship and emphasises the innocence in that the love they are about to share is purely between them.
Along with this, in order to fortify the intimacy felt during love making Donne uses polysemic terms such as “My mine of precious stones” which not only displays mine as a first person possessive pronoun- perhaps showing pride in the possession he has over his mistress- but also the mine that is her genitals- the new land he is yet to discover.
Similarly Plath uses polysemantic terms as a way of showing the exclusivity in her relationships in the poem ‘Ariel , specifically referring to the apparent lesbian affair she had soon after her and Ted Hughes split ‘ – ” The child’s cry melts in the wall” not only suggests that when with her alleged lesbian partner she’s free for the burden of motherhood and can just focus on their passion but also that when being in a homosexual relationship the possibilities of conceiving a child are none an therefore there is no-one else to detract from the bond and overwhelming desire that the 2 have for each other.
Plath also represents this intimacy by using metaphorical imagery such as “White Godiva” which indicates the female naked freedom while also subtly protesting against her husband by portraying this great female symbol. Plath also uses imagery to intensify the passion she feels in love making with another woman – ” The brown arc of the neck” and ” into the red eye” suggest the vagina and feminists would argue that Plath portrays the orgasm as ” Foam to the wheat glitter of seas” which exaggerates the intimacy experienced when the 2 are at their most vulnerable naked states.
Along with this both Plath and the Metaphysicals display the joyous love by the overwhelming of emotions that it creates. In Donne’s poem ” To his Mistress Going To Bed” the whole poem is written in one stanza with its contents being ridden with enjambment “we easily know By this these Angels from an evil sprite:”. This shows the feelings Donne has as not being able to express them fast enough as, as he’s seducing her, so many emotions are being created – at the foremost frustration and lust.
At the time, Donne was known for being debauched and this excitement and unable to contain his feeling emphasises how much he risked in order to sleep with the woman. The use of plosives such as “Behind before, above, between, below” represent the transactional and heightening strength of the emotion whilst the caesura in the line suggests Donne needs to pause after the words to try and calm himself down from all the overwhelming urges and desires he has for his mistress.
As Donne was a child genius and was working in law by the time he was 17 he was popular with the ladies, and so when a woman such as the one he’s addressing in the poem doesn’t succumb to his epicurean ways so easily, his emotions flair and overwhelm him into an almost plea for her to make love with him. Plath also uses linguistic features in portraying the overbearing love and excitement she has for her first child to be born. “You’re” is a poem written during her pregnancy of her first child Frieda. She uses the phrase “Vague as fog and looked for like mail” to represent the anticipation and urgency she has to meet her new child.
However, this is a homophone and mail could also mean “male” as in the absence of her husband Ted Hughes who was rarely around. At the time she was having relationship issues with Ted and building a new everlasting love bond with her new child and so the conflict in positive and negative emotions at the time would have certainly been overwhelming. The fog in this phrase represents the uncertainty and space between the mother and the gestating baby which may also be ironic of the disbelief she has that she can love a person so much without having met them yet.
Finally both the metaphysical poets and Plath display love as joyous by seeing it as an opportunity for a new start. Donne sees this new start being one as starting from the pure naked state in the relationship – ” to enter in these bonds is to be free” is an oxymoron as the bond of marriage incarcerates two people in a relationship eternally. However Donne is expressing that by having this new start of marriage they will have a sense of freedom and self completion making love even more joyous.
Whether Donne actually meant to marry the woman is questionable, after his strong womanising reputation however if he is then the new start he would have in actually committing himself in a marriage shows the strength of the love he feels. Plath, in “Ariel” sees the birth of her first child as a new start for herself. The metaphor of the last 2 lines “Right, like a well-done sum. A clean slate, with your own face on” shows the positivity she already sees in this new being “well-done sum” and “clean slate”.
At the time she was going through hardships in her marriage with Ted Hughes and so the new child could be a source for a new start of optimistic love and a positive source to project happiness onto. The compound words in “Thumbs-down on the dodo’s mode. ” Represents the new life and thus new beginning Plath will receive from the new baby whilst the assonance of the ‘o’ sound fortifies this by showing certainty and stability she sees in that this undoubtedly will give her the release and new start that she’s needed for so long