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The Scrutiny Summary & Analysis
by Richard Lovelace

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“The Scrutiny” was written by the poet Richard Lovelace. Most likely composed in 1642, during the first months of the English Civil War, the poem turns away from the intense political conflict that surrounded its writing. It is, instead, a witty argument in favor of promiscuity. In a dramatic monologue, the speaker of the poem—a flirtatious and untrustworthy young man—flits from woman to woman, hoping to taste all the beauty and pleasure that life can offer him. He justifies his bad behavior with a playful—and deliberately unconvincing—argument: only by sampling such variety can he ever hope to be true to one woman.

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