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Sir Philip Sidney was an English poet and scholar born in 1554 in the United Kingdom. In his poem, “Thou Blind Man’s Mark” Sidney describes desire as being able to take control of any man. There are descriptions of the effect it has on Sidney. He discusses his hatred of desire and his struggle to free himself. Sir Philip Sidney uses poetic devices to help convey his attitude toward desire.

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Sidney uses imagery to describe desire. He says desire has nothing worthwhile to offer and is purposeless, “worthless ware…cradle of causeless care.” (Lines 3 and 6) He describes desire as a snare that entraps fools, “thou fool’s self-chosen snare.” (Line 1) The “smoky fire” (Line 11) of desire represents blurs in the vision that make a person unable to see clearly. The imagery Sidney uses is to identify desire as false promises and worthless.


Sidney personifies desire and discusses his problems. Sidney indicates desire as “thou” as if the desire was a person. Sidney writes, “In vain, thou madest me to vain things aspire…desiring naught but how to kill desire.” (Line 10 and 14) He calls to desire, “Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought” (Line 4), sensing that desire has formed a plan to trap Sidney. By personifying desire, Sidney creates an enemy of desire that he uses to direct all his hate towards.

The speaker uses repetition and alliteration to reinforce his hate of desire. “Desire, desire!” (Line 5) Sidney emphasizes the importance of the word by using an exclamation mark. “Blind man’s mark … fool’s self-chosen snare…bond of all evils, cradle of causeless care.” (Line 1, 13, and 14) The alliteration shows his strong feelings toward desire and his word choice shows that his feelings are bad toward desire. Another repetition, “Too long, too long” (Line 7), gives the feeling of frustration or possibly sadness. In this poem, it seems he is reflecting on how desire has affected his life.

Sidney uses imagery, personification, alliteration, and repetition to describe his feelings toward desire and to state his purpose. He creates his enemy through personification, uses imagery, alliteration, and repetition to express his thoughts and feelings towards desire.

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