English Literature – Love through the Ages
Context and Quotes
· The idea of "Courtly Love" was popular.
· 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
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…