George Cascoigne's For That He Looked Not Upon Her

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“For That He Looked Not upon Her”
In “For That He Looked Not upon Her,” the sixteenth century English poet George Cascoigne creates a story of a man that has been betrayed by love. Cascoigne employs sonnet form, analogical imagery, and exaggerated diction to develop this story and uncover the heartbroken and miserable attitude of the speaker. These devices aid in revealing the suffering of the man to the readers and help them grasp the reality of love. Form plays a major role in setting up the tone and the mood of the poem. The poem is a English sonnet with three quatrains and a concluding couplet. The first quatrain introduces the man’s conflict with love, the second and third add to the betrayal with metaphors that compare the suffering, and the rhyming couplet emphasizes the man’s argument against love. A
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Gascoigne utilizes the image of a small animal, mouse, and an insect, fly, to convey the speaker’s innocence and vulnerability. He, like “The mouse which once hath broken out of trap,” (5) was trapped and harmed. This analogy reveals the trust that was given and lost to a “trustless bait” in both situations. Consequently, the man has never recovered and is fearful of a replication of the tragedy. This is seen in line 7 “But lies aloof for fear of more mishap.” The imagery of this mouse shows the pain of the speaker and his reluctance to go back to the deceptive and harmful woman. To add to this dramatic occurrence, Gascoigne utilizes another analogy of a fly. The kinesthetic imagery of “The scorchéd fly, which once hath ‘scaped the flame,” (9) allows the readers to experience the pain and damage that the man has gone through. He did not know what he was getting into and thought of it as a “game.” This reveals his naiveness. Like the mouse, he “Will hardly come to play again with fire” (10). The speaker has learned from experience and at the cost of his
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