Sir Philip Sidney’s poem, “Thou Blind Man’s Mark,” addresses desire and its ruinous ways. In conveying the speaker’s complex and bitter attitude toward desire, Sidney employs poetic devices including paradox, tone, and a specific diction. These and other techniques (such as personification and irony) complete the speaker’s portrayal of desire and his feelings about it.
The first three lines of the poem include some paradox and irony. Consider the opening line, “Thou blind man’s mark, thou fool’s self-chosen snare…” Such nonsensical descriptions reflect the speaker’s nonsensical impression of desire. Sidney has opened the poem with such lines to emphasize the complicated and rather backward nature of that feeling called desire. At the end is another instance of paradox. The speaker claims to desire nothing but the knowledge of how to kill desire itself.
Sidney’s harsh diction also holds a key to understanding the speaker’s complex attitude. Not only can one note the ironic and contradicting choice of words in the beginning, but also the harsh terms employed throughout the rest of the poem. He uses terms such as “worthless ware,” “thy smoky fire,” “mangled mind,” and repeats the phrase “in vain,” directing these at desire as though it were human. This personification is also essential to the delivering of the speaker’s attitude. He addresses desire as though it were a devilish man, giving him something besides an abstract idea to direct his animosity towards.
The tone of this poem is noteworthy, because it basically is the attitude of the speaker; in this case, it is quite bitter. Sidney creates said tone with his diction and literary devices; lines like, “I have too dearly bought,/With price of mangled mind, they worthless ware;” are good indicators of tone, as well.
Sir Philip Sidney reveals his speaker’s acrimonious attitude quite effectively through his tone, choice in words, and techniques. Paradox and personification were important techniques in establishing the speaker’s voice and mood. Desire appears to be an incensing sentiment to the speaker, as a result of the poetic devices that the author chooses.
Ashley Scott College Literature
Thou Blind Man’s Mark Essay
In Sir Phillip Sidney’s’ poem, Thou Blind Man’s Mark, he uses Image
ry, through the use of diction, and tone. He also uses personification, and syntax, with the help of repetition, to convey the complex attitude that he has toward desire.
Sir Phillip Sidney starts off the poem by describing the thought process of someone “Blinded” by
desire, so to speak. While going through these motions, Sidney uses the diction and tone in the following lines to paint a picture in the readers he
ad: “Thou blind man’s mark, thou fool’s self
snare” (I. 1),
in this line, Sidney uses a mocking tone
to describe how a “blind” man, blinded by desire, sets himself up for his own demise. This creates the image, in the reader’s head, of a man walking
straight into a trap, the he didn’t even know he had set up himself. In lines 3 and 4: “Band of all evils, cradle of causeless care; thou web of will, whose end is never wrought…” (II. 3
-4) Sidney increases the imagery and tone by making it seem as if de
sire is the root of all evils within one’s self. Describing desire as “cradle of causeless care…” makes readers think of desire as being that one feeling that fuels all
careless actions. In the poem, although Sir Philip Sidney uses examples of imagery, through the use of diction and tone, He also uses personification and syntax to convey his complex attitude toward desire. In the last
few lines of the poem, Sidney writes: “Desiring naught but how to kill desire.”(I. 14) in this line, Sidney
addresses desire as something to be killed, giving it a human like characteristic which relates back to earlier lines in the poem and the Imagery aspect of his writing
. When Sidney describes desire as a “band of all evil…”
(I. 3) it now makes the reader see desire as a demon of some sort that is residing within a host, controlling their thought process and careless actions.
The syntax aspect of Sidney’s writing is shown throughout the whole poem. Sidney’
s use of
repetition is apparent when he uses the work “Vain”
multiple times near the end of the poem. He uses the word in a way that emphasizes how everything