Contrast and Comparison of To his Coy Mistress and My Last Duchess

Subject: Gender Studies
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 571
Topics: Women Rights

To his coy mistress and My last Duchess provides different views of women in the society. The speakers of both poems are presented to be men. Therefore, the descriptive terms used provide perceptions that are similar regarding perception of women. However, the differences noted enable the readers to analyze how the figurative language has been used by the poets to outline their perspectives. The paper would, therefore, compare and contrast the poets’ attitudes towards women.

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The speaker in To his coy mistress describes how time is limited to express love to the woman he had identified. The aspect of time makes the speaker utilize figurative language in the poem. Pursuing love is one of his primary targets in the poem. The speaker in this poem shows some respect to the women since he describes the beauty of a woman with the significant feeling of love and respect for her beauty (Kadir, p. 293). However, this speaker outlines a negative attitude toward women by describing that if he could not have sexual pleasure within the limited time, the worms would eat up her virginity of the woman when she dies. Such description outlines poor perception of women’s dignity, therefore, this provides an aspect that women are viewed as objects of sex. As the poem continues, we realize that the speaker lured the woman to fulfill his pleasures rather than expressing love. In line nine of the first stanza he describes that his love should be paid back in return ‘And you should,’ this further describes how his emotions have been driven by personal pleasures rather than love and respect for women (Marvell, p. 114).

My last duchess involves historical events involving the Duke. It provides an artistic view of a woman. The speaker’s past experience with women has affected the current attitude toward women. In contrary to To his Coy Mistress,  He feels jealous and disrespectful since his ex-wife could not give him love and attention. For instance, he stops at the portrait of the late Duchess and describes her as disgraceful. He describes the portrait as a ‘piece’ of wonder which outlines how he disrespected women (Millay, p. 113).


The two speakers in the poems differ in their descriptive terms to women. However, both encountered different circumstances where they expressed emotions and how they lured women to accept their decisions. The Duke, speaks from a negative personal encounter with his ex-wife, and this has made him develop a negative attitude toward women. On the contrary, the speaker into his coy mistress is not compelled by any circumstance to negatively view women; he thinks that women should be lured with beautiful words to acquire pleasure. Therefore, both speakers have used figurative language to create an imagery of woman’s status with minimal dignity. Furthermore, the praise of the beauty of women is described in both poems, in contrary, they view women as sexual objects (Kadir, p. 293). The woman is the main subject for both speakers but how they approached her differs. Woman’s perception and views have not been outlined in both poems, and they have failed to listen to the woman’s opinions. Therefore, this further explains the aspect of negative attitude toward women.


The poems have described how people from different communities view the woman’s position in the society. Some might consider her as an object of sex. However, the beauty of a woman is admired in both poems.

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  1. Kadir, Djelal. “World Literature: The Allophone, the Differential, and the Common.” Modern Language Quarterly 74.2 (2013): 293-306.
  2. Marvell, Andrew. ” To His Coy Mistress” and Other Poems. Courier Dover Publications, 2016.
  3. Millay, Edna St Vincent. Renascence and other poems. Courier Corporation, 2013.
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