A Critical Analysis of "The Parting" by Michael Drayton

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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 reasons.

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 poem.

Another constraint of the sonnet is the length of the lines themselves. In a sonnet, the rhythm
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...
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