Time: To his Coy Mistress and Great Ruler Essay

Submitted By verokond
Words: 976
Pages: 4

Time is perceived to be a concept that through its power and durability, places limitations on humanity. These characteristics challenge humanity to overcome its restrictions and in doing so, expose weaknesses that pose a reminder of humanities finite, conclusive lives. This notion of time has inspired poets such as Andrew Marvell in To His Coy Mistress, and Perce Bysshe Shelley in Ozymandias. These poets challenge and provoke thought about the fundamental beliefs of time which is evident throughout their texts through the use of both language and structural devices.

The concept of time being a physical reality is a concern as its power and durability challenges humanity to overcome its restrictions. This idea is effectively portrayed in Marvell's To His Coy Mistress. The speaker is in pursuit of a woman who seems uncertain about entering a relationship with him. He explains that time is a grim burden and if they do not seize the opportunity while they are young, time will catch up with them and their lives will be over before they know it. The poem highlights the limitations that time imposes on the human race. The poem centers around the concept that through times limitations, there is a control placed on humanity, specifically on what we can do, how we do it, and for how long. This further highlights the importance of seizing the day. The use of a simile in 'Now therefore, while the youthful hue sits on thy skin like morning due', allows for the responder to understand that youth is as fresh, pure and temporary as morning dew. The responder consequently is led to believe that this addresses the brevity of human life, further identifying it as a human weakness exposed by time. This further reinstates the idea of time's power exposing the frailty of life, which supports the concept of seizing the day. Seizing the day may not be centered around controlling time, but trying to overcome its limitations. As presented through the application of the structural technique of syntactically parallel lines in 'Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run,' the first line conveys the notion of negation as it addresses the fact that humans cannot control or manipulate time. This idea may reflect the social context of the poem, and the belief that time is overpowering and consequently, places restrictions on the lives of humanity. In the second line however, 'we will make him run' specifically refers to overcoming time's barriers and restrictions, threatening and triumphing over time itself. This idea provokes the responder and challenges their own beliefs about the nature of time and humanity's relationship towards it. In essence, Marvell has significantly exemplified the notion that time places restrictions on humanity and further challenges us to overcome these limitations.

Time is both powerful and eternal, mocking the short lived, conclusive nature of human life. This labels time as the ultimate ruler which is highlighted in Shelley's Ozymandias. The poem depicts a journey to a far land and describes a ruined statue of a powerful ruler, whose words engraved on a plaque contrast the visual presented to the responder. As expressed in the poem through the application of connotations in 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, half sunk a shattered visage lies..'.The use of connotations in the line conveys an image of a monolithic sculpture that has been broken into pieces from years of harsh environmental exposure. This positions the responder to feel a sense of loss and destruction as a result of time's effect on not only the statue, but on the memory and legacy of the great ruler. This leads to the belief that time is also the decider of permanence and can either create or…