Explore the view that Wyatt presents the pursuit of love as a form of competition?


1st attempt:

Exam conditions, 40 mins:

Explore the view that Wyatt presents the pursuit of love as a form of competition?

In Wyatt’s sonnet “Who so list to hount” he does present the pursuit of love as a form of a competition but I think there’s also a hidden metaphor behind the poem about unrequited love.

Wyatt presents love as a competition throughout the poem by referring to the woman as a “hynde” who “fleeth afore” and him who “seke to hold the hynde” just like a dear hunt which is the extended metaphor in this poem. Deer hunts were often attended by rich males like Kings or Wyatt who was a courtier, often a typical competition between the men purely for entertainment. By calling the woman a “hynde” he portrays her as his possession, something he thins he can get. Female deers would often also be hung up at homes of rich men as a ‘medal’ of sort – to show off what they caught and now own. It can also be assumed that the woman is Ann Bolyn who was having an affar with Wyatt as he was a courtier who went around in rich circles and that’s how he would of met her[61] .

The fact that it’s a traditional sonnet suggests that he might of loved her unrequitingly, the 6/8 division helps to convey this idea in terms of form. In the first 8 lines the idea is developed and then follows through with the consequence of her being untouchable “Noil me tangere for Cesars I am” and therefore a prize in a competition he will never have. 

This sonnet can also be compared to “To His Coy Mistress” which is a dramatic monologue as both writers present love as a competition. THCM is focused on sexual love from the beginning with reference to “marble Vault” and “private place” as well as letting the two “sport” so readers are aware that it’s focused around sex whereas Wyatts poem has no obvious reference to that unless words like “wearied me so sore” or “seme tame” which could imply sexual reference, such as being comfortable with each other[62] .

Wyatt does present love as a competition through the language he uses however there is also reference to unrequited love that would suggest otherwise like “seke to hold the hynde” and shows a Renaissance view of love from a mere male point of view that dominated throughout and female who are unsure and seem to want to escape the males in both poems as Wyatt woman run away “untouchable “ and Marvell’s “lady” doesn’t give herself away either which suggests an unconventional attitude to love.

 [61]So what tone or effect do you


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