Saturday, January 23, 2010

Imprisonment, Sickness, and the Binary Nature of Existence in Marvell

The images of torture and imprisonment are very strong in the Souls first appeal to the Body in Marvell's "Dialogue". This decision by the author to immediately immerse the reader into very violent imagery is an interesting one and one that commands attention. This imagery makes a lot of sense in that it draws a parallel between the physical limitation that a body places on a soul and the physical limitations a prison places on a person. Marvell uses very violent language throughout the poem when either speaker characterizes its opposition. Later on in the piece the two parts that speak on "sickness" are equally evocative, showing that both Body and Soul consider that normal reactions and functions of the other as a plague that is unable to find appropriate resolution but simply continues to pester. Obviously in this poem the most defining decision made by the author is to split up the poem into parts, seemingly giving Body and Soul opportunities for soliloquy. This serves the nature of the poem greatly because it makes the piece a back and forth battle of wits, which highlights the binary nature of the poem.

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