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Expanding The Horizons Of Beauty Through Fiction, Poetry, And Drama

1615 words - 7 pages

Departing from a lover might often seem painful; yet, it is precisely with the departures that one learns about the nature of true love. In the poem “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” John Donne offers a beautiful insight into this subject. As he consoles his wife by asserting that their love is everlasting, the poet develops a theme that unifies the poem and allows the reader to identify his intention. The theme, therefore, is especially important as it serves as a central point around which all the other elements are structured. As John Donne explores the nature of unconditional love, he employs metaphors, symbolism, and tone as the three main elements that reinforce the theme and ...view middle of the document...

By comparing their souls with the senses, Donne describes the imperfections of a love based on physical attraction only. This metaphor takes the idea of soul into a physical sphere and, by doing so, illustrates what the author’s love is not. Donne asserts that their love is different because it is transcendental and deeper than sensations. Moreover, in line 23 the poet states that his departure will cause an “expansion” rather than a separation between them as they will remain as one. The simile in line 24 contributes to this metaphorical consideration as Donne draws comparison between their love and gold. As gold expands when it is beaten, their love will spread and be precious despite their separation; it will never break. By illustrating the eternal nature of their love, this line contributes to the theme of the poem and allows the reader to connect to the claim of true love. Finally, the most significant metaphor in the poem is found in the seventh stanza as Donne compares his love with a compass. In line 27, he suggests that his wife‘s soul is the “fixed foot” and therefore, as he asserts in line 30, he is the foot who has to “roam”; he is the one who needs to go. Though they need to be apart, they are joined at the top like the compass, so their love is connected at a spiritual level and can endure separation. Developing this idea further, Donne remarks that he will eventually “come home” (32) like the leg of a compass returns to the center and joins the other leg in an upright position. Thus, he will return to his beloved, whose “firmness” (35) completes him. He demonstrates that they can support and love each other unconditionally despite being physically apart. The metaphors, therefore, are a fundamental element in the poem reinforcing the central idea of an eternal love.
Similarly, symbolism is very important in the poem as it helps understand the deeper meaning behind the lines and strengthens the theme of true love. In the third stanza, Donne mentions the “trepidation of the spheres” (11) to symbolize the perfection of the Universe and, most importantly, the perfection of their love. Like the innocent movement of planets, their separation is pure as they are united in a spiritual way beyond what earthly and ordinary people feel. As a result, the symbolism in line 11 adds to the heavenly nature of love and helps the reader appreciate that the love the author talks about is unlike any other. Moreover, the comparison to gold in line 24 also carries an interesting symbolism. Gold suggests wealth, so it is a symbol of the value of love. The lovers cherish their love deeply because, though they need to be physically apart, their relationship is a treasure that remains precious and pure. Hence, the reader is able to connect emotionally to the words and understand the beauty of such unique love. In addition, the compass carries a symbolic meaning as well. In line 25, the poet states that their souls are “twin compasses” which symbolizes...

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