Carpe Diem “Seize the Day” What does this phrase mean to you, and how do you apply it in your life? Carpe diem is a call to live life to the fullest. It is a literary theme that urges living and loving in the present moment since life and earthly pleasures cannot last. “Carpe diem," more literally translates as "pluck the day," referring to the gathering of moments like flowers, suggesting the ephemeral quality of life, as in Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," which begs readers to live life to its full potential: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying. Carpe Diem scene from “Dead Poet’s Society” Poets have regularly adapted the sentiment of carpe diem as a means to several ends, most notably for procuring the affections of a beloved by pointing out the fleeting nature of life, as in Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress": Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapt power. Read the carpe diem poems on your handout. How do these two poems advise the reader to “live for today”? "To The Virgins to Make Much of Time" Pg 301 Definitions of “Virgin” a) "unmarried or chaste woman noted for religious piety and having a position of reverence in the Church" b) "maiden, unwedded girl or woman,“ Adj. chaste; maidenly; modest; as, a virgin blush.” c) Pure; undefiled; unmixed; fresh; new; as, virgin soil; virgin gold. d) Not yet pregnant; impregnant. 1. Which definition of “virgin” is intended in the title of this poem? 2. In the first stanza and in the last stanza, what specific advice does the speaker give to the virgins? Can this advice be interpreted literally? If so, what else does it suggest beyond what it literally says? 3. How does the speaker’s advice create a frame for the poem? 4. In each stanza of the poem, what evidence does the speaker offer to support the advice he gives in the first and last stanzas? "To His Coy Mistress" pg 303 1. This poem is a dramatic monologue. Who is the speaker of this poem? Who is he speaking to? What is the dramatic situation that the speaker presents? What does he want from the listener? 2. Does the speaker in the first stanza think that he and his lover have "world enough and time"? If they did, how would he choose to spend that time? 3. In the second stanza, the speaker describes his awareness of time and immanent death. How does time influence his relationship with his lover? 4. If we view this poem as the speaker's attempt to create a logical argument (1. "If we had"; 2. "But"; 3. "Therefore") to persuade his lover, the third stanza presents the final statement of that argument. What does the speaker offer as the logical conclusion to be drawn from the ideas presented in the first two stanzas? "To His Coy Mistress" Presentation of a logical argument, or syllogism. In "To His Coy Mistress," this argument may be outlined as follows: (1)We could spend decades or even centuries in courtship if time stood still and we remained young. (2) But time passes swiftly and relentlessly. (3) Therefore, we must enjoy the pleasure of each other now, without further ado. The conclusion of the argument begins at Line 33 with "Now therefore." Herrick and Marvell have similar objectives but different approaches. How do you react to the two poems and poets? Is one more persuasive than the other? How are their arguments both similar and different? We could spend decades or even centuries in courtship if time stood still and we remained young. Do you think there are echoes of Herrick’s poem in contemporary media? Does the speaker in this poem hold any values that are shared by modern advertisements, television shows, or popular songs? What are they? But time passes swiftly and relentlessly.
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