Poetic Techniques In John Donne's The Dream

634 words - 3 pages

The Dream, by John Donne, is a poem that is filled with passionate diction, syntax, and figurative language along with a tender tone meant to convey the almost celestial feelings Donne has for his lover.

The first stanza shows a wide range of fantastical language with the intention of drawing the reader slowly and steadily into the hazy, dreamlike setting. Along with the words like ?fantasy?, ?fables? and ?dreams? come affectionate phrases that effectively show us that the poem is meant to be addressed to a lover, ?Dear love? being the most obvious example. Later on in the poem, the language shifts from drowsy and steady to more intense and complicated, yet less passionate and more doubtful. Donne?s choice in the last stanza to utilize fiery words like ?torches? and phrases ?light and put out? and ?thou cam?st to kindle? depict a sense of overwhelming passion, as uncontrollable as fire. Donne doubts that he can control his lover to continue loving him as fervently as in his dream, which is why his dream lover is ?an angel? while his lover in reality is compared to fire.

Donne?s syntax is also notable, one reason being his sanctioning off of the third line in every stanza to state a ?truth? the poet wants to stand out. These four-syllable statements include ?It was a theme? and the most powerful, ?Thou art not thou?, when he initially becomes dubious of his lover?s intentions. This line, which reinforces the ambiguity of the dream-state, is also a paradox, among others. To accentuate the sudden outbursts of pleasure and overwhelming emotion, Donne employs the ABBA end rhyme scheme ?Dear love, for nothing less than thee/Would I have broke this happy dream, /It was a theme/For reason, much too strong for fantasy?. The last line of a poem is always full of the most meaning, and Donne delivers this concluding line with a hyperbole of...

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