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
Sir Philip Sydney’s “Thou Blind Man’s Mark” creates a mood of caution. It is evident within the poem that when dealing with desire one must be careful and strong willed. This warning of caution lets the reader know that Sir Philip Sydney feels that desire is dangerous, evil, and a monster. His attitude towards desire is conveyed through techniques such as structure and figurative language.
The structure of the poem is divided into three different parts that allows the reader to grasp the author’s attitude effectively. Each part has a specific purpose to address how he feels about desire. Lines 1-4 (Thou blind man’s…whose end is never wrought) describes desire in a way that allows the reader to see how Sir Philip Sydney feels about desire. Words such as “snare” and “web” describe desire as a trap that one cannot easily escape. Lines 5-11 (Desire, desire…thy smoky fire) tells the reader the effects of desire once caught in its trap. Desire causes one to chase fruitless and unyielding dreams. It causes one to be distracted from his or her true goal. Lines 12-14 (For virtue…how to kill desire.) is where it tells how to deal with desire. By focusing on one goal or reward you can overcome desire if that goal is to “kill desire”. This three part structure fulfills the author’s purpose in letting the reader know how he views desire has something evil and to be vanquished.
Figurative language is actively used throughout the poem to convey the overall mood and feel of the poem. Phrases such as “Thou blind man’s mark, thou fool’s chosen snare” and “Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought” uses comparison to describe desire in the views of Sir Philip Sidney. These phrases imply that desire is a self-made trap that one does realize he or she is trapped in hence the phrase “Thou blind man’s mark, thou fool’s chosen snare”. The phrase “Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought” implies that since it is a “web” created by yourself it is inescapable because you don’t realize you’ve been caught. This use of figurative language leads to thought that this evil entity desire born within you turns you into a monster that has woven your downfall.
The way Sir Philip Sidney depicts desire as an evil entity shows his true attitude towards desire. His use of structure and figurative language builds desire as character itself within the poem and the way he builds desire as a character lets the reader know how he feels about desire. He sees desire as an evil entity and an enemy that is nearly impossible to defeat unless one’s desire is to “kill desire”.