The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd Analysis

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In the poem, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” by Sir Walter Raleigh, the author uses parallelism, alliteration, and imagery to help establish the message that over time, love, like physical gifts, will become worthless. The poem was written in response to “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe, a poem about a shepherd trying to convince a nymph to live with him in the countryside. The shepherd bribes the woman with countless gifts and experiences, hoping that she would fall for him. “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” is her response to his proposal. Raleigh uses parallelism to show that both physical gifts and love will eventually fade to nothing when listing the gifts that the shepherd offered and when describing…show more content…
The abiotic gifts that the shepherd offers are temporary. Even though the inanimate gifts in nature cannot die, the environment the shepherd describes won’t be tranquil and beautiful “When rivers rage and rocks grow cold” (Raleigh 6). The imagery of touch with the rocks growing cold represents the shepherd’s love fading with time. Although the shepherd offers some gifts that cannot die, they will eventually deteriorate and waste away. The gifts that he offers are beautiful, just like love, but both cannot last forever. The promises he makes and everything that the shepherd offers are all temporary. The biotic gifts that are offered are also temporary. After a while, these gifts will become meaningless when “The flowers do fade, and wanton fields To wayward winter” (Raleigh 9-10). Raleigh uses the imagery of sight to show that some of the gifts that the shepherd offers will die. The roses, posies, and other flowers he offers will perish and become nothing with time. The scenery of the fields will become barren and cold when winter comes, representing the harsh reality that the shepherd and nymph will have to eventually face. Like love, all the gifts that the shepherd offers are momentary and cannot last
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