Imagery In 'For That He Looked Not Upon Her'

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It has been said that “beauty is pain” and in the case of this poem, it is quite literal. “For That He Looked Not Upon Her” written by George Gascoigne, a sixteenth century poet, is a poem in which the speaker cannot look upon the one he loves so that he will not be trapped by her enhanced beauty and looks. In the form of an English sonnet, the speaker uses miserable diction and visual imagery to tell the readers and his love why he cannot look upon her face.
Containing three quatrains and a rhyming couplet at the end, this poem displays a perfect English sonnet using iambic pentameter to make it sound serious and conversational. This is significant because most sonnets are about love and each quatrain, in English sonnets, further the speaker’s
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The mouse ensnared by the trap is included to show that the speaker truly will never again trust love, always afraid that it is a deception. This displays that it will be hard for the speaker to ever love again because he does not wish to endure the same pain he has previously dealt with. The succeeding metaphoric image is the scorched fly, which is interesting because the fly is the universal symbol of death, which could be seen here as the death of his love life. The fly in this image has already been burnt by the flames of a fire, which suggests that the speaker has been hurt by his love. This fly “will hardly come again to play with fire” (line 10), so the speaker is saying that he will no longer come near her or, as the title points out, “look upon her” in fear of being burnt again. Both images lead to the next two lines where the speaker acknowledges the game of love as “grievous” and untrustworthy. He is no longer new to the “game” (line 11), and he has learned from the experience. The imagery is important because it creates verisimilitude which connects the speaker and his readers, producing a sympathetic relationship between
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