Love In John Donne's A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning And Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress

1643 words - 7 pages

Love in John Donne's A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning and Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress

John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" and Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress" both talk about love but has different views about it, one talks about physical love and the other talks about spiritual love. John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" compared love to a circle while Andrew Marvel's "To His Coy Mistress" compared love to a straight line. Both poems are act of persuasions. "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" is persuading the reader that true love is eternal while "To His Coy Mistress" the speaker is persuading the mistress to make passionate sex with him. Therefore, with all of these similarities and differences, it's commendable to compare the two works of literature.

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" has a subtle theme of religion in itself particularly, Christianity in relation to life after death. The main theme of the poem is true love will continue on, even after death. Lines one through two illustrate the notion of afterlife. "As virtuous men pass mildly away, And whisper to their souls to go..." Essentially, it implies that we have souls, and souls are the immortal part of men (human beings). John Donne's notion that we have souls and there's life after death are presumably based on his Christian beliefs. Donne was born in England and raised by a prosperous Roman Catholic family. At the age of 42, Donne accepted ordination in the Angelican Church. He, then, became and earned a reputation as one of the greatest preachers (Abcarian and Klotz 1121). Donne was 60 years of age when he wrote the poem; presumably, he was still a preacher at the time. Therefore, his poem can be suggested as influenced by his beliefs in afterlife.

On the other hand, Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" has no perspective on religion. Life is viewed as linear where there's a beginning and there's an end. "To His Coy Mistress" is about an act of persuasion of a man who has a raging and lustful desire to consummate his love to his coy mistress. Marvell was born in Yorkshire and although he was not a Puritan himself, he supported the Puritan's cause during the civil war (1142). His Puritan belief may not have influenced his poem. He wrote the poem when he was 60 years of age, same age Donne wrote his "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning."

Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" in terms of structure has a sense of continuity, which resembles a circle. The poem consists of nine stanzas of four lines or quatrains. Every second line of the poem is indented as if it's a weave of a basket. It has a continuous alternating pattern similar to the weavings of a basket symbolizing continuity as if it's a continuous cycle, which remind you of a circle. Moreover, Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" started and ended the poem with death, again as if it's a continuous cycle emulating a drawing of a circle. When you...

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