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Thou Blind Man's Mark

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Kathleen Stedman

on 6 March 2015

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Transcript of Thou Blind Man's Mark

"In the following poem by Sir Philip Sidney(1554-1586), the speaker addresses the subject of desire. Read the poem carefully. Then write a well-developed essay in which you analyze how poetic devices help to coney the speaker's complex attitude toward desire."
the Prompt
Literary Elements
Thou Blind Man’s Mark by Sir Philip Sidney condemns desire as a sinful emotion that takes away from the true meaning of satisfaction. Sidney regards desire as a form of self-destruction, calling it the “band of all evils.” His use of several poetic devices adds to the depth of the work; truly depicting the complexity of his hatred towards such a feeling. Sidney only acknowledges desire as a beneficial emotion in the last line of his poem, by stating that his only true desire is “to kill desire.” Thou Blind Man’s Mark conveys desire as an evil through elements such as conceit, alliteration, and anaphora.

Introduction and Outline
• Desire is evil
• “scum”
• Causes “mangled mind”
• Desire has “brought” him “asleep” “too long”
• “Who should my mind to higher things prepare” Desire makes him wory if he will be accepted into heaven
• All he wants is to kill desire “Desiring naught but how to kill desire”

an AP prompt explained
Thou Blind Man's Mark
Thou blind man’s mark, thou fool’s self-chosen snare,
Fond fancy’s scum, and dregs of scattered thought ;
Band of all evils, cradle of causeless care ;
Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought ;
Desire, desire ! I have too dearly bought,
With price of mangled mind, thy worthless ware ;
Too long, too long, asleep thou hast me brought,
Who shouldst my mind to higher things prepare.
But yet in vain thou hast my ruin sought ;
In vain thou madest me to vain things aspire ;
In vain thou kindlest all thy smoky fire ;
For virtue hath this better lesson taught,—
Within myself to seek my only hire,
Desiring nought but how to kill desire.

Paragraph 1:
Topic Sentence: The general conceit of the poem depicts the attitude of Sidney towards desire.
-Refers to a “blind man”
-Believes more so that blindness comes from pursuing desire

Paragraph 2:
Topic Sentence: Elements such as anaphora and repetition enhance the overall mood of the poem; allowing the reader to grasp the emotion felt towards desire.
-Anaphora: lines 10-11, “in vain”
-Repetition: line 5 “desire, desire”
line 7 “too long, too long”

Paragraph 3:
Topic Sentence: Of course, alliteration is present throughout the poem illustrating the complexity of Sidney’s hatred.
-Line 1: “blind man’s mark”
-Line 3: “cradle of causeless care”
-Line 4: “web of will”
-Line 6: “mangled mind” and “worthless ware”
Too long
In vain
Conceit: 'extended metaphor' of blindness, physical vs. mental
Personification of Desire
fond fancy's scum
cradle of causeless care
web of will
mangled mind
worthless ware

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