Andrew Marvell writes an elaborate poem that not only speaks to his coy mistress but also to the reader. He suggests to his coy mistress that time is inevitably ticking and that he (the speaker) wishes for her to act upon his wish and have a sexual relationship. Marvell simultaneously suggest to the reader that he/she must act upon their desires, to hesitate no longer and seize the moment? before time expires. Marvell uses a dramatic sense of imagery and exaggeration in order to relay his message to the reader and to his coy mistress.
The very first two lines of the poem suggest that it would be fine for him and his mistress to have a slow and absorbing relationship but there simply isnt enough time. He uses exaggerations such as Love you ten years before the Flood? and An hundred years should go to praise? Two hundred to adore each breast; But thirty thousand to the rest.? These exaggerations imply that the speaker would wait many many years until his coy mistress was ready, but there isnt enough time. The reader can also visualize the deep love the speaker contains for his coy mistress through the imagery.
For example, the speaker suggests that his vegetable love should grow, and vegetables only get larger and more ripe as they grow, analogous to his love, but vegetables grow very slow. His love is so great that it would grow vaster than empires, and more slow? meaning that if there was enough time, his love for her would be immense. The speaker in this poem is suggesting that his coy mistress is well worth all of these praises, but considering the situation with such little time, there is no period for such high praise.
The speaker in this poem seems frustrated; he delicately tries to inform his coy mistress that their death is near, and they still have not had sexual intercourse. In lines 17-33 the poem seems to lose the exaggeration sense and suddenly becomes serious. He (the speaker) reinsures his coy mistress that you deserve this state? (state of praise and high acknowledgment), But at my back I always hear, Times winged chariot hurrying near? Andrew Marvell uses and interesting image in line 22 (the line mentioned above) when suggesting to his coy mistress that death is near.
He substitutes the word death? for a more gentle, delicate term of Times winged chariot? This term was probably used to prevent from frightening such a coy mistress. Marvell continues to involve the readers imagination through unimaginable images. What do Deserts of vast eternity? look like? In fact, Marvell probably used such abstract images to suggest to his coy mistress that their future is indeterminable, and Thy beauty shall no more be found? Perhaps, beauty is what the coy mistress is so concerned with and the speaker in this case is trying to frighten her to have sex with him quicker.
He continues to use intense imagery when describing to his coy mistress that even after death the worms shall try That long preserved virginity? The speaker now abstractly describes that holding on to your virginity for life is no good, because her body will be raped of worms and her virtue will turn to dust after death. The last stanza strongly urges for him and his coy mistress to act now and Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball?
Through the imagery in this stanza he [the speaker] seems irritated by the pressures of time, and the stubbornness of his coy mistress. Marvell uses action words and images to portray the speakers short patience such as instant fires? birds of prey? Time devour? And tear our pleasures with rough strife? make him run? These images create an instant picture in the readers mind that depict the speakers anxiety. Also, in lines 33, 37, and 38 Marvell uses the word Now? to imply that the speaker wants he and she to take action immediately.
Marvell created this poem with a universal theme, a theme that urges everyone to act upon their wishes immediately before time expires. Marvell never informs the reader that the speaker in the poem is dying of old age or illness, but he [the speaker] is growing impatient because he believes that death may just sneak up unexpectedly. By ignoring the reasons for death and stressing the reasons to take action, the reader should receive the message and take action, because time could just stop ticking (according to Andrew Marvell).