Unrequited Love In Whitney's Unconstant Lover '

1179 Words5 Pages
Both Katherine Philips and Isabella Whitney are noteworthy for the fact that they are women; the overwhelmingly majority of writers in Renaissance England were male. Therefore, the two offer a different perspective on love than we see in the majority of love poetry from the time. Whitman, though not very celebrated in her time, is now considered to be one of the first female English poets (The Poetry Foundation). Philips, writing about a century later, was one of the first female English poets to actually gain fame and fortune from her writing. Both published poems which unconventionally addressed romantic love and challenged the usual perception of women in romantic relationships. In Whitney’s “To her unconstant Lover,” Whitney addresses unrequited love in a manner that is more mature than that of many contemporary poets, and eventually reconciles herself with the idea of not being able to be her beloved’s loyal lover. In Philips’s “An Answer to Another Persuading a Lady to Marriage,” Philips rejects the role of women as passive, loyal lovers altogether.…show more content…
In “An Answer to Another Persuading a Lady to Marriage,” which may more accurately be considered an anti-love poem, Philips condemns marraige for restraining women. Philips writes of women who marry “First make the sun in private shine, / And bid the world adieu” (lines 9-10). The ‘sun’ is a metaphor for the bright personality and gifts of the woman she is concerned about. Philips believes married women are expected to remain confined to their homes, and are discouraged from allowing their gifts to be enjoyed by anyone other than their husbands. The woman in question is simply “More bright and large than this” (16). It is not just marriage that Philips is critical of; in her poem “Against Love” Phillips condemns love and courtship in general for restricting not just women’s but also men’s independence. “Against Love” boldly
Open Document