Analysis Of Christopher Marlowe 's ' The Passionate Shepherd Of His Love '

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Christopher Marlowe’s poem, “The Passionate Shepherd to His love”, and Sir Walter Raleigh’s, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” address the popular “carpe diem” theme found throughout the history of poetry. The two poems are unique because unlike most poems featuring a speaker trying to persuade someone to seize the day and become lovers, another writer takes on the persona of the addressee and offers a reply to the shepherd. Marlowe’s poem begins with the famous line, “Come live with me and be my love”, already the reader knows that this poem will act as a long plea to persuade his love to live happily ever after with him. The character of the shepherd continues throughout the poem by describing the life he and his love will have if she agrees to live with him. Raleigh’s poem completely dismantles the shepherds’ promises of a perfect life. Everything that was promised in the original poem that constitutes the carpe diem theme is completely unattainable. According to the character of the nymph, the romanticized version of life is impossible to execute due to the fact that life always gets in the way.
The first poem referenced is Marlowe’s “Passionate Shepherd” written in 1600, when a woman’s only source of value was her virtue. This is why the carpe diem theme is so common among poetry, the old saying rings true, even 400 years ago, “men are only after one thing”. The speaker in this poem is trying to persuade his “love” to live with him and together they will live happily…

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