Analysis of A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
In "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," John Donne uses many metaphors and images to convince his lover that even though they are going to be apart, their love will remain untainted. The prefix un- meaning to do the opposite of or is also used to reverse the meaning of a word. The definition of tainted is to be contaminated or to be touched or affected slightly with something bad. In short, untainted means to remain the same without being corrupted by outside influences. The author uses references to spheres and circles, which depict something that ends where it begins, to support his defense. Donne also uses many references to nature, as he does in many of his poems, which has the same reinforcing effect. Some examples of the author doing this would be when he refers to the moving of the earth, and the trepidation of the spheres (9-11). The trepidation of the spheres are believed to be like earthquakes and caused by the planets moving. These movements supposedly occurred without being felt by people on earth. Some of the author's parallels are more far-fetched than others, but all in all his choices in diction provide hard hitting and touching prose.
In the first quatrain Donne provides a parallel between a positive way to view death and a positive way to separate from a lover. He states that, like a dying man, he will be leaving in the physical sense, but will still remain in spirit. In the second quatrain Donne writes, "So let us melt, and make no noise, /No tear-floods, nor-sigh-tempests move," (5-6). The word "melt" was chosen by the author to represent a gradual change in physical state, going form a solid to a liquid, which symbolizes their being separated (5). By these arguments, the narrator hopes to convince his lover that there is no reason to be sad about his absence; rather she should accept this "earthquake" (9). The idea of an earthquake is used to symbolize a matter of misfortune beyond one's control. Dwelling on their unchangeable misfortune would only cause unnecessary sorrow.
The narrator goes on to describe their love as "Dull sublunary lovers' love," in the forth quatrain (13). Sublunary meaning everything below the moon or earthly, something that is subject to change and is definitely something far from perfect (13). This idea of their love being flawed does not seem to go along with the theme in the poem. The theme of the poem is very reassuring of their love's security. It is almost as if the narrator is trying to show his lover that he realizes their relationship is perishable. Donne goes on to explain how even thought their love is going to change, in the physical sense, their souls will still be together (14). Their love consists of three parts: body, soul, and mind, not just body. He states that they have "a love so much refined," no distance could change their bond as one (17). In quatrain six, Donne uses words that reflect...