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A Valediction

2 Pages 561 Words

John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” portrays true and deep love as strong enough to withstand distance and separation through his use of literary techniques and metaphysical conceits. The poet uses a variety of literary techniques to show the parallel between approaching death and parting from a lover in a not so negative perspective. The author uses numerous paradoxes to illustrate the separation of the two lovers. Beginning in the first quatrain, the author explains that when “virtuous” men die, they “whisper to their souls to go,” while others await their parting, insinuating that such men should set an example to lovers, for the separation of the soul from the body and the separation of two lovers from each other is not an ending, but the beginning of a new cycle (i-iv). Continuing into the next quatrain, the poet says, “let us melt...make no tear-floods...sigh-tempests,” implying that the bond of the lovers will disperse quietly like the soul of a dying man leaving his body, and his lover is to remain poised and resist any show of emotion upon his departure (v-vi). Likewise, the author uses metaphors comparing his love to divergent objects in order to show how they are imperceptible to others. In the third quatrain, “[movements] of th’ earth” are feared due to their potential to ravage the land, whereas the “trepidation of the spheres” in the heavens are picayune to the average person; therefore, this comparison is used to suggest that matters beyond one’s control, like the separation of lovers, should be approached sensibly (ix-xi). The poet then explains that “dull sublunary” lovers are flawed human beings who do not actuate mature love, for the soul of their love is “sense” and they need physical contact to inveterate their relationship; however, the speaker suggests that reason can free itself from any connection with a sensory experience, so lovers with full...

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