English Literature - Love through the Ages

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English Literature – Love through the Ages

Context and Quotes

Medieval (1300-1500)

·         The idea of "Courtly Love" was popular.

Renaissance (1500-1670)

·         Marriage created ties between families

·         Women are seen as the property of a man

·         Women of high status marry young

·         During this period Queen Elizabeth I reigned between 1558 and 1603

·         Shakespeare

o    Romeo and Juliet

§  “Yet if thou swear’st,/ Thou may prove false.” - Juliet is self-assured and unconventionally knowledgeable about the motives of men.

§  “If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.” – Juliet proposes to Romeo, defying the social conventions and gender expectations of the time.

o    King Lear

§  Lear calls Cordelia a “degenerative *******” as she does not submit to him and flatter his ego

§  “she shook/ the holy water from her heavenly eyes” – Cordelia presented as angelic and holistic

§  Lear calls Goneril and Regan “dog-hearted daughters”, this use of animal imagery makes them seem wild and cruel, a stark contrast to the description of Cordelia

§  “The food of thy abused father’s wrath!” – Gloucester sees Edgar as the victim of his anger, but sees his anger as the result of abuse

§  “Edmund enkindle all the sparks of nature / To quit this horrid act.” – Gloucester calls on Edmund to fufil his filial duty

o    Taming of the Shrew

§  “A woman moved is like a fountain troubled / Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty.” – Women should not show or have emotion

§  “I am ashamed that women are so simple / To ask for war, where they should kneel for peace / Or seek for rule supremacy and sway, where they are bound to serve love and obey” – Women should not fight the regime, instead fix into it

o    Much a Do about Nothing

Civil War and Restoration (1667-1700)

·         Metaphysical Poets

o    John Donne

§  Holy Sonnets XIV

§  “That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend / Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.” – Here there is a strange mix of violence and repair. Here the persona wants God to be violent with him, because he trusts God to rebuild him again, but better.

§  This poem uses sexual language “ravish”, to describe religious love, contrast others which use religious language to describe sexual love and desire.

§  The Apparition

§  “And thee, feign’d vestal, in worse arms shall see:” – Accuses her of lying about her virginity, insulting her maidenhood

§  A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

§  “As stiff twin compasses are two” – Despite being physically separated, their hearts will always be together

§  The Flea

§  “Where we almost, yea, more than married are. / This flea is you and I, and this / Our marriage

Comments

grace

you my friend, are amazing. thank you :)

Izi

Thank you so much for this! It's such an overwhelming topic and having it broken down into the different time periods with a brief contextual summary is brilliant! Thank you so, so much!

tpcarr98

So helpful, thanks for saving me so much time. 

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