Themes in Quickdraw by Duffy and To His Coy Mistress by Marvell

Brief idea of themes in Quickdraw by Duffy and To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell. These are in the Relationships cluster of the AQA poetry exam.

Hope it helps!

(Note: I'm not sure why the layout of the text is like this...)

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Themes in Quickdraw

Quickdraw contains two very different concepts: western imagery and modern technology…

Western Gunfight

The theme of a western gunfight is prominent throughout the poem, it’s even seen in the title of ‘Quickdraw’ which is a term usually associated with it. This is an unconventional way of presenting a relationship but could also be an  accurate portrayal of a difficult and intense relationship and showing the highs and lows of an emotional relationship. The words such as ‘wounded’, ‘squeeze the trigger’ and ‘Last Chance Saloon’ are typical examples of the theme of a western gunfight. By making the relationship seem like a gunfight, the narrator is showing how the element of competition or combat in romantic relationships can get overlooked in some more traditional views of love.

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Themes in Quickdraw

Modern Technology

The use of telephones with a Western gunfight is an unusual but clever pairing to illustrate how the two lovers that are having a fight over the phone can be compared to two enemies/rivals in a potentially deadly encounter. The constant verbal exchanges are like the rapid gunshots that are exchanged in a quickdraw contest.

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Themes in To His Coy Mistress


Although sarcasm is not the most significant theme, it does occur throughout the poem when the narrator exaggerates how long he would spend courting the mistress: ‘Hundred years should go to praise thine eyes…’ Marvell sarcastically mocks the traditional ideas of courtship which he obviously disagrees with as shown in the line ‘now let us sport while we may’. The sick use of sarcasm in the second stanza ‘worms shall try that long preserved virginity’ is effective to frighten the mistress of what could happen to her if she waited too long.

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Themes in To His Coy Mistress


Usually in a love poem, the theme of death would be used to show how even after death, the lover would still love them but in To His Coy Mistress, death is used to shock the mistress instead. The narrator does not declare the extent of his love which would reach beyond death but that ‘none, I think, do there embrace’ to tell his mistress that by then it will be too late and his love or more appropriately lust for her would be wasted.

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thanks :) good luck with your exam tomorrow(?)!

Bruno Russell


thanks, these are the exact poems I used last week... shame I didn't see the recourse before... but I still think I did well

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