Love In Philip Larkin's Arundel Tomb

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Discuss the presentation of love in Larkin’s Arundel Tomb

The poem, Arundel Tomb, written by Philip Larkin explores the theme of love and how at times can be ambiguous. A notable example of this is in the first line of stanza one, it says “their faces blurred”. This could be symbolic of their universal love. Their facial appearance and physical qualities have wasted away but their love still remains and can’t corrode away as easily. However, Larkin could be suggesting that their love deteriorated over time due to the challenges they may have faced, just like the stone corroded due to oxygen and the climate. Larkin uses the trochaic tetrameter rhythm to write his poem and follows the rhyme pattern of abbcac. By his usage of this traditional form of poetry could symbolise how time has gone by. In the poem, much time has passed as the effigy have started to corrode so the structure corresponds with what Larkin is writing about.
In stanza one, the sculptures have their “little dogs under their feet”. Having their dogs as part of the effigy is significant to the presentation of love in the poem as dogs usually represent devotion and loyalty. This could represent the love that was shared between the people who existed before the sculpture. This alludes that their love is not
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The enjambment used throughout the poem also emphasises the idea of love withstanding the obstacle that is time and time passing by. This line endorses the idea that love will triumph any challenge even time. However, love here can also present love as an illusion. The effigies are there to give the people a nice final memory of them and the ‘love’ is not eternal. The line “what will survive of us is love” is an example of where Larkin’s use of a trochaic tetrameter accentuates the love and emotions the couple had while they were
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