John Donne -

Length: 4 Pages 1078 Words

The Perfect Love On any given day at the airport, couples in love can be seen saying goodbye to one another. Everyday, thousands of people are forced to say goodbye to a loved one for a period of time for one reason or another. People react to this period of separation in a number of ways. Some cry, some smile, and some do nothing. In John Donne’s poem, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning", the concept of love and separation is addressed. In this poem, Donne is able to use metaphors in order to help show how a perfect love says goodbye. Surprisingly, this poem, which is a love poem, opens with the idea of the death of virtuous men who "pass mildly away". Virtuous men quietly make the transition from this world to the next. Because their friends left on earth know that the deceased lived a virtuous life, there is some sadness, but the friends know that the dead are now in a better place. The death, although sad, was also very peaceful. Donne equates this scene with the farewell of lovers. He believes that like death, parting is a sorrowful time, but is should be peaceful. There should not be a big emotional scene; rather, there should be a calm exchange of emotion. This idea of a peaceful goodbye is further seen in Continue...


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As a result of the compass, the last metaphor referring to the separation of lovers is found. The man is telling his loved one that their parting must "make no noise, No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move". In this stanza, Donne transitions from talking about death to a man talking to his loved one. In this poem, Donne refers to the loved one being left behind as "the fixed foot,which makes no show To move, but doth, if th'other do. It involves the movement of the earth and celestial bodies. Donne's use of metaphors in his poetry greatly enhances the meaning and allows for greater understanding of his poetry. Their love is like this compass, with the lady being left behind as the center. The center point helps keep the other to the true shape of a circle. The next metaphor found compares the couple in love's love and separation to that of gold. However, while this is a much greater motion. In the seventh stanza, another important metaphor about separation is introduced, comparing true love to a compass. The compass forms a perfect circle, which is like the lover's love: perfect. The shape of a circle is viewed as a perfect shape by many cultures. Through this metaphor, Donne is saying that the greater love does not have to mean that there should be a big emotional scene. The metaphor of the gold demonstrates this fact as well.

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