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Character Analysis in To His Coy Mistress

The Speaker and the Mistress: The mistress is depicted as a coy figure, or someone who feigns modesty. This implies that, at least in the eyes of the speaker, she wants to pursue a physical relationship as much as he does. The speaker says that he would be fine with her coyness if they had “but world enough, and time.” He details all of the slow ways in which he would love her in the first stanza, establishing his devotion and reducing his potential to be perceived as an impatient lover. However, since the premise of his argument is that time is limited, the question becomes whether or not his declarations are genuine or whether they are claims he knows he will not have to prove.

Character Analysis Examples in To His Coy Mistress:

Text of the Poem

2

"lust..."   (Text of the Poem)

The first stanza details the adoration the speaker has for his lady and the time he would devote to courting her properly if it were available to him. He makes his love clear through the ways he would dote upon her if given the time. However, the urgency of the speaker’s desires offers a different reading. It raises the question of whether his affections are genuine or false. Since time is a limited resource, perhaps he is making promises he knows he will not have to keep.

"crime..."   (Text of the Poem)

The speaker frames his lady’s “coyness” as a crime, presumably one against their emotions and mutual desire. The implication that it would be fine to be coy if they had more time makes the speaker seem like less of an impatient lover and more of a man concerned with mortality.

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