One of the often heard advices people attempt to adhere to is seizing every moment in life and living the life to the fullest. From time to time people give unwanted advices, introducing the rules of life and reality. Are there really set rules that will guarantee a happy and successful life? Should people follow rules and concoct dreamy ideas about love, life, and relationships? Many are so caught up with life’s events and try to capture the meaning by encouraging people to embrace the now and plan about the future. Movies have a way of describing life in a very unrealistic manner. Poems use verbose lines that tickle the mind and heart of the reader. Songs make use of melodious tunes that stir the soul. How should man live life then? I do not believe that the Carpe Diem thinking is the best philosophy to follow because a realistic view prepares individuals for whatever might come their way.
The poem, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, by Christopher Marlowe and The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd, by Sir Walter Raleigh take different views on how to live life and handle love. One is full of romanticism and idealism, while the other one deals more with reality. In the first poem, Marlowe tries to depict a kind of love that is pure and full of promises as the setting happens in a place where everything is in full bloom and in agreement with all that makes humans happy and contented, making it an easy way for the shepherd to court and persuade his ladylove of his promises. The poem also talks about the time element of seizing the moment to enjoy whatever the present offers. As the poem says, “Come live with me, and be my love” (Marlowe), the speaker offers his love the present without thinking of the implications of their actions. In general, the speaker also only proffers the beauty of life and love but does not show the negatives and evils in the world. For a woman who is romantic and is taken easily by dreamy and passionate words, there is no doubt that she will fall for the shepherd’s undying profession of love.
On the other hand, the second poem, which is Raleigh’s response to Marlowe’s shepherd poem, Raleigh deals with love and life in a more realistic manner. Beginning the poem with an “If”, Raleigh already rejects the shepherd’s pleas for love as he persuades the woman to see love and life the way he sees it. As Raleigh points out in the poem, if the world is only made up of only the good things in life, then the woman would have no problems believing and accepting the shepherd’s proposal. But it is not the way considering that there are real life problems that need to be addressed, thus, the woman would rather say no than accept the proposal. The nymph specifies the reasons why the promises do not seem to be true such as how the seasons change from winter to spring to fall, the flowers fading and eventually dying, and the material things such as shoes and gowns withering (Raleigh). The reasons may appear irrational if they were to be used as a gauge whether to love a man or not, but the reality still speaks that life is not made up of beds of roses.
I am more apt to take the position of Raleigh because while Marlowe’s professions about love are sweet and idealistic, life and love does not end there. Especially during the getting-to-know-you stage of a relationship, both man and woman would often show their best sides in order to gain the would-be partner’s approval. However, a few months after the courtship, when reality sets in, that is when both will realize that love and life are imperfect, which could lead to disillusionment in the relationship. It is the same thing with people who dream and people who work towards their goals. People who dream just do exactly that – dream. They do not push for what they want and simply wish that life will offer them better opportunities without effort. That is why it is better to be realistic than idealistic. Realistic individuals will push to become a computer programmer if they understand that the information technology field is more in-demand than pursue to become an artist. Realistic people accept that a relationship is made up of two different personalities who have different needs and wants. Being realistic means recognizing that beauty fades, especially if it is what attracted two people in the first place.
It is the same thing when dealing with life circumstances where one is presented with various options in life. Some are too good to be true, while others are showing the realities of life. Life may offer the good things at one time, but always the reality will go back to whether the option presented is what the individual wants or not. Whether good things or bad things happen, it is part of reality. Ideas that are all contained in the minds of people are often depictions of idealism, notions that would have been nice had the situation been different. In reality, there will always be people who would expect other people to conform or who would tell another person to seize the day, seize the moment, and seize the opportunity (Hudson). Human nature tells us that people naturally want only the good things in life and benefit from it. But reality tells us that life and love have their evilness, too. In the end, the individual is the one who really decides how to lead his life and beliefs. Therefore, approaching life realistically, reasonably, and sensibly is the best way to deal with whatever life has to offer instead of pretending that everything makes sense and have a purpose.
Hudson, Paul. “Take Control of Your Own Life and Live by Your Own Rules.” 2013. Web. 19 February 2014. <http://elitedaily.com/life/take-control-of-your-life-and-live-by-your-own-rules/>.
Marlowe, Christopher. “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.” Poetry Foundation. N.d. Web. 19 February 2014. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173941>.
Raleigh, Walter. “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” Poetry Foundation. n.d. Web. 19 February 2014. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174205>.