A Critical Analysis of "The Parting" by Michael Drayton
By looking at a poem which has a specific form, for example the sonnet, consider
to what extent its particular techniques enhance its meaning.
The parting by Michael Drayton is a sonnet. It is a poem about the break
up of the relationship between the author and his partner. I feel that the
meaning of the poem is greatly enhanced by its form, and for a variety of
Firstly, because the sonnet is a very strict form, the author has to be
very careful in constructing his poem, to ensure that it fits the design
constraints. One of these constraints is that the sonnet is very short, at only
14 lines. This forces the author to distill his thoughts and feelings into as
compact a form as possible. This distillation process means that the waffle that
would have filled up a piece of prose has to be cut, and leaves a much clearer,
less cluttered version of his feelings. Often, he has to sum up in one line of
the poem what he would normally have written a paragraph or more on. For example,
"Shake hands forever, cancle all our vows" sums up very concisely the idea of
the break being forever, with no possibility of a reconciliation, whilst also
adding to the ease of understanding and therefore also to the meaning of the
Another constraint of the sonnet is the length of the lines themselves.
In a sonnet, the rythem is always iambic pentameter, which means that there must
always be ten syllables per line, with each second syllable being stressed.
Where the author breaks this pattern, it must obviously be for a good reason,
when the author wants a certain word or syllable to be stressed. This in itself
will naturally add tot he meaning of the poem. This, in addition, to the
constraints of the number of lines, again causes the poem to have to be
compressed, clarifying the poem's meaning, and thereby enhance it. For example,
in the first line, there should be no stress on the third syllable, but the
author has written the poem so that there is, stressing the "no" and giving
weight to the definitivness of the first two quatrains. The author again breaks
the rythem in the last two lines, using eleven syllables instead of ten. This is
clearly not a mistake or an accident, and has been done for one of two reasons;
to add emphasis to these lines because seem out of place due to their length, or
because the author felt that he simply could not sum up his feelings in the...