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A Dialogue Between The Soul And Body Analysis

Author: Poetry of Andrew Marvell Type: Poetry Views: 1096

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O Who shall, from this Dungeon, raise
A Soul inslav'd so many wayes?
With bolts of Bones, that fetter'd stands
In Feet ; and manacled in Hands.
Here blinded with an Eye ; and there
Deaf with the drumming of an Ear.
A Soul hung up, as 'twere, in Chains
Of Nerves, and Arteries, and Veins.
Tortur'd, besides each other part,1
In a vain Head, and double Heart.

O who shall me deliver whole,
From bonds of this Tyrannic Soul?
Which, stretcht upright, impales me so,
That mine own Precipice I go;
And warms and moves this needless Frame:
(A Fever could but do the same.)
And, wanting where its spight to try,
Has made me live to let me dye.
A Body that could never rest,
Since this ill Spirit it possest.

What Magic could me thus confine
Within anothers Grief to pine?
Where whatsoever it complain,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain.
And all my Care its self employes,
That to preserve, which me destroys:
Constrain'd not only to indure
Diseases, but, whats worse, the Cure:
And ready oft the Port to gain,
Am Shipwrackt into Health again.

But Physick yet could never reach
The Maladies Thou me dost teach;
Whom first the Cramp of Hope does Tear:
And then the Palsie Shakes of Fear.
The Pestilence of Love does heat :
Or Hatred's hidden Ulcer eat.
Joy's chearful Madness does perplex:
Or Sorrow's other Madness vex.
Which Knowledge forces me to know;
And Memory will not foregoe.
What but a Soul could have the wit
To build me up for Sin so fit?
So Architects do square and hew,
Green Trees that in the Forest grew.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem is a conversation between the body and soul representing the conflict a person experiences between spiritual versus substantial advantages and disadvantages. The body and soul converse about how they do not need each other and how the body despises the control and the soul despises the entrapment of the mundane body. The tone of this poem is aggressive and full of despair. It is shown throughout the entire poem as the body and soul are unhappily combined and distress about the situation they are in. It is created in their Dialogue using specific words such as “Tortur’d” and “destroys” and handled with brilliant rhyme schemes and excellent descriptions. The body and soul describe their hatred for each other in each stanza and the word choice of the author is exemplified. For example, “…ill Spirit it possest” is the body describing the soul by calling it not a soul, but a possessive spirit that makes it seems controlling and unnatural. The imagery used in the poem is very intense. For instance, “A soul hung up, as ‘twere, in chains of Nerves and Arteries and Veins” proves that the soul feels trapped in the body and gives the reader an image of chains made up human innards. It is not a pleasant picture and gives the reader the impression that the body is cruel. Andrew Marvell\'s style is consciously following a pattern. Each Dialogue section is divided into ten lines with a repeating rhyme scheme that adds a musical effect to the way it sounds when read aloud. Overall: The body and soul are typically portrayed as a codependent team, but this poem portrays them as enemies representing the conflicts of the human experience. The poet is trying to give light to the negatives that the substantial living body and surreal consciousness have on each other. In addition, The author uses personification and paradox brilliantly to develop the poem to its full extent. He personifies the Body and Soul throughout the entire poem to emphasize the conflicts between spirituality and human instinct by allowing them to speak to each other and have a debate. Paradox is used multiple times in his work. For example, “Disease, but, whats worse, the Cure” or “Shipwrackt into Health again” are spoken by the soul to describe how it would like to be released from the body through death, but must sustain the body. Also in the last stanza, “Build me up for Sin so fit” describes how without the Soul, the body would only have instincts and would not have good and bad or right and wrong. This poem is rather brilliant and I think absolutely amazing.

| Posted on 2011-04-02 | by a guest

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