In relationship between the speaker and his wife, a

In the poem Marrysong, Dennis Scott presents an
unconventional relationship between the speaker and his wife, a woman so
complicated and fluctuating that he has to persevere hard in order AK1 to
“learn” her constantly changing moods, something that he inevitably cannot do. However,
in Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare successfully presents a conventional love
between the speaker and his partner, who’s beauty and love from the speaker is
endless and timeless.

In Marrysong, Scott compares the speaker’s wife to nature to
highlight his wife’s fluctuating personality and her instantaneous mood swings.
The use of
“without seasons, shifted” suggests the unpredictable mood of the wife as
seasons implies a sense of regularity as there are 4 distinct seasons in a
year. AK2 However,
by mentioning “shifted” without these seasons, this connotes to her constantly
changing moods and personality and the speaker is perplexed as he “never quite
learned her”. The sense of being lost is further emphasized when he says “Roads
disappeared” as roads and maps are associated with guidance and direction. In
addition, the poet uses “walled anger” and “cool water laughing” where “walled”
implies a sense of confinement and restriction but is contrasted with “water”
as water is free-flowing and is not restricted. Due to the contrast of “anger”
and “laughing”, when these words unite with “on turning”, it shows an immediate
and instantaneous action of turning around which emphasizes the wife’s rapid
changing moods which is also linked to “shifted”. Nature has connotations of a
peace and loving atmosphere but also has it’s dark and stormy days where nature
becomes extremely furious and unpredictable. Therefore, by implementing nature
as a theme, it draws parallel with the troublesome relationship Scott presents
of the couple.

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Moreover, Scott also presents a very violent and aggressive
relationship between the speaker and his wife.  At times the speaker could be “lost” in her
“quarried hurt” where “quarried” means to dig or blast stones from a quarry.
This is reminiscent of “stones in her voice” where “stones” has connotations of
hostile and implies hardness, pain and discomfort, suggesting the intense rage
of his wife and emphasizes how fierce his wife can be. This symbolises, the uneasiness the
speaker is feeling due to his wife.AK3 
“tasting of sea” presents the reader with the bitternessAK4 
of the wife and describes how treacherous she can be as she constantly fluctuates
from becoming angry to “faultlessly calm”. AK5 Thus, this shows
the reality of love consisting of disagreements and compromise.AK6 

Finally, Scott presents the sense of unconventional love and
vulnerability of the man towards his wife’s love. The poet uses “shifted under
his eye” suggesting that the speaker is scrutinizing her, making observations to
try and AK7 understand
her mind. But even as he watches her so closely, he discovers “the map was
never true” and this makes the reader seem like he will always be oblivious. In
addition, the phrase “jaunty helpless journey” makes the reader feel as if the
speaker is about to give up his fight but could also give an impression that
the speaker feels enthusiastic of his marriage with her, but is “helpless” as
he is unable to understand her. However, “find his way among the landscapes of
her mind” where the word “find” is associated to the other words in the poem such
as “map” and “chart” as these words show how the speaker is trying to gain
control of his wife. However, the word “find” shows how he accept his wife, and
tries not to control her but seeks ways to change himself to cope according to
her constantly changing personality. This implements how strong the wife is and
demonstrates how a woman should have rights and not be controlled in a
relationship. This highlights the tempestuous love between them and reinforces
the reality of love, love that is not based on romance but on respect, faith,
compromise and care.

Similarly, in Sonnet 18, Shakespeare also compares the
speaker’s partner to nature in order to create vivid images and to portray that
his partner is incomparable to summer. For instance, in the octave, the use of
adjectives “lovely” and “temperate” makes his partner seem pleasant but also
magnificent. This is strengthened through the repetition of the intensifier “more”
before the adjectives, which falls on the stresses of the iambic pentameter. This
emphasizes that the loveliness of the speaker’s beloved is exceptional, beyond
what summer can offer. Furthermore, the use of “Rough winds do shake the
darling buds” where “darling buds” has connotations of elegance and beauty.
This accompanied by “lease hath to short a date” presents the reader with the
fragility and short duration of summer’s beauty. With the use of “lease”, it
reminds the reader that everything beautiful remains for a limited time and
after a while, it’s beauty will forcibly be taken. This draws parallel with
“gold complexion dimmed” suggesting that something so luxurious and fascinating
sometimes declines in beauty, continuing to suggest that the speaker’s beloved is
too perfect to compare with summer’s negative qualities. This shows how caring
and sensitive the speaker is to his partner whilst identifying how much his
partner means to him.

Secondly, Shakespeare traditionally uses Sonnet 18 as a
sonnet form which itself emphasizes the love brought within the poem as a sonnet
is always associated with love. The poem is broken down into 14 lines
consisting in iambic pentameter which is very conducive to the meaning of the
poem. The iambic pentameter has a heart-like beat which creates a rhythmic
quality and makes the whole poem sound like a heart beating, emphasizing the
love the speaker has for his beloved.

Finally, in various ways throughout the poem, Shakespeare
effectively establishes that love and beauty is timeless for the speaker’s
beloved. For instance, in the sextet it says “thy eternal summer shall not
fade,” which suggests that the speaker’s beloved’s charming beauty, personality
and love will never fade. The reader gains an accentuated image through the use
of the iambic pentameter which stresses on “eternal” highlighting the
immortalising love the speaker has for his partner. This is reinforced in the octave
by “summer’s lease hath all too short a date” continuing to entail that his
beloved’s beauty is eternal unlike summer. Lastly, “So long as men can breathe”
and “this gives life to thee” implies that as long as there is life on earth
and people can read, his poem will survive, and thus the love and beauty of the
beloved will exist through the precious words of this poem. However, it could
be argued that the couplet claims that the purpose of the poem was not to
compliment the speaker’s partner but to prise the speaker for his poetic
skills. Overall this shows how much the speaker admires and loves his partner
and concludes that his partner will forever be in memories of human being.

In conclusion, Marrysong and Sonnet 18, both the poets have
successfully used extended metaphor and tools to produce imagery to present relationship.
In Sonnet 18, Shakespeare shows the speaker’s joy of being deeply in love with his
partner and that all beauty will perish except for his partner by using the
shimmering summer to compare his partner to. However, in Marrysong, Dennis
Scott uses nature to present the speaker as being bewildered, annoyed and
confused of his wife but also his wife, as a complex but a strong character as
she is uncontrollable leading the speaker to only accept her diverse and
changing “geography”, showing true love.


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