Sample Essay

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Katherine Philips, author of the poem, “Against Love,” was born in 1631 on New Year’s Day. At sixteen she married her fifty-six-year-old stepbrother (her step-father’s son by another marriage). In understanding her views on love, historians note that she had many loves, both platonic and sexual. Part of her literary endeavors centered on the Society of Friendship, a semi-literary correspondence circle primarily made up of women. It was in this Society of Friendship that Katherine Philips experienced platonic love. Because Philips’ writes of courtly love, the actual extent of the relationship with other women is not clearly known, though because she described the love between women as pure and not corrupted by the sexual, it is believed that these relationships were platonic.

John Dunne was born to an affluent family in 1572. In 1601, he gave up a promising career to marry Anne More, a seventeen-year-old (Jokinen). It was around this time, or before that, he penned the poem, “The Triple Fool.”

“Against Love” and “The Triple Fool are similar in their analysis of love, both seem to reach the conclusion that love is foolish. Donne looks at it from his point of view, a male perspective, while Philips looks at a male’s love from her point of view, a female perspective. By describing love, Philips uses words such as cheating toys and shackles. She mentions “his real griefs” and Donne also mentions the grief that love brings. Both poems are lyrical. Philips takes a more figurative approach and often personifies love as seen in the first line where she gives love the name, Cupid.

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