Sir Thomas Wyatt: Poems
Presenting a Reversal of Fortune in 'They Flee From Me' 11th Grade
In Wyatt's "They Flee from Me," the speaker considers all his previous sexual conquests (with a particular emphasis on one "special" partner), and then wonders why these women are no longer interested in him. Usually in love poetry, the man plays the role of the dominant partner whereas the woman is painted as the vulnerable or subordinate partner. However in Wyatt's poem, there is an inversion in the relationship and the speaker is left at the mercy of the "special" woman. Although the punishment of having sex outside of marriage was far worse for women at that time, in this poem, the speaker attempts to identify himself as the victim. His emotions can possibly be linked to his position of sexual vulnerability, which would have been strange and unfathomable to a man of his era. It is clear that a reversal of fortunes has been presented in this poem; therefore, the question we ought to be asking ourselves is: How exactly has the concept been presented by the author in this poem?
In the first stanza, the phrase 'that sometime did me seek,' suggests that the women were once initiators of the relationship, yet the word 'flee' creates a sense of desperation in the departure of the speaker's sexual partners. Besides that, the...
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