To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Literary Analysis of Specific Images in the Poem «To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick

  • Reflective and close-reading analysis.
  • Present images and reason/purpose for each image.
  • Cite specific images from the poem "To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time" that support the theme/idea of Carpe Diem aka Seize the Day.
  • Use each stanza to focus on one exact image or symbol.
  • Introduce images and define where they are prominently shown in the poem. Explain how these images support the discussing idea and show how they evaluate the purpose of the poem.
  • Explain how the idea of the poem is realized in a real life.
  • Show what does the poem teach and inform the readers about.

I.      The central theme

  • Introduce the central theme of the poem – “carpe diem”or “seize the day”.
  • Explain how the poet captures this idea in thematic representation.
  • Analyze the stylistic device used in this particular poem; include visual and tactile imagery.

II.      Visual and Tactile Imagery:

Visual Imagery of Flower and Wings

  • Introduce the image of flower and the process of flying in the first line of the poem.
  • Explain what appropriate effect the poet wants to use with the help of this symbol.
  • Analyze how this symbol supports the idea of the poem.

The Image of the Sky

  • Introduce the image of the sky in the second stanza;
  • Explain what appropriate effect the poet wants to use with the help of this symbol;
  • Analyze how this symbol supports the idea of the poem.

Tactile Imagery in Stanza Three, Line 2

  • Introduce the imagery of blood and youth;
  • Explain what appropriate effect the poet makes with the help of this symbol;
  • Analyze how this symbol supports the idea of the poem.

III.     The Explanation of How the Imagery in Stanzas 1, 2 and 3 Supports the Idea and Theme of “Carpe Diem” aka “Seize the Day”.

IV.      The Need for Carpe Diem in Life

  • Introduce Carpe Diem’s concept;
  • Explain why that it is needed in life in a myriad aspects and spheres of existence;
  • Analyze how people should live and what they have to appreciate.

V.      Finale

Introduce our point of view concerning the problem raised by the poet, and elucidate the main thesis of the literary analysis.

Give the bulleted list of intent and explain what the poem is trying to convey to the readers.


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Thesis Statements

In this poem, a number of statements include visual and tactile imagery that are used in order to inform the central theme of “carpe diem”or “seize the day” that basically means to grab opportunity while it presents itself.

Visual imagery is well evident in stanza one, where there is the use of vivid language representing the picking of flowers. This expresses the image of a person gathering blossoms.

Line 2 refers to old time flying away, which suggests visualization of its literal flight and creates an image in the reader’s thoughts.

Line 3 forces the reader to make a mental picture of a smiling flower with beautiful bright colors and, therefore, alludes to the stylistic device of imagery.

The second stanza has instances of visual imagery and evokes formation of vivid mental images of the sun across the sky. At the beginning, visual imagery represents childhood, youth and prime life, but then it portrays old age and death.

Tactile imagery is evident in stanza three. Blood is said to be warmer in the times of youth, which makes the quality of being warm prepossess the reader’s imagination.

The imagery above in stanzas 1, 2 and 3 supports the idea and theme of “carpe diem” aka “seize the day”.

Carpe diem’s concept is needed in life in a myriad aspects and spheres of existence. The poet encourages people to seize the day and make their lives extraordinary by taking advantage of today because tomorrow one will be dying. However, seizing the day may also be misunderstood and used for the wrong reasons, which may escalate delinquency of youth and exacerbate their moral principles.

The theme of “carpe diem” remains of great significance to the young souls as it is a stepping stone to great achievements. However, seizing the day requires more than just a burning desire and will to succeed, but also great tact and discretion in one’s decision making.

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