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Love's Deity

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Topics: Poetry
In John Donne's poem "Love's Deity", the speaker presents the argument that love can not be true love unless both members of the relationship love each other equally. The speaker wishes that he could return to a time before the god of love was born so that he would not be forced to love a woman that does not love him back. The speaker describes the god of love, or Eros, as an immature tyrant who does not consider the other persons feelings when he is coupling two people together. Donne reveals the importance of this argument or idea through the repetition of similar lines at the end of each stanza. While these lines are not identical and could not be considered a refrain, they do bring the subject of each stanza back to the idea that he is forced by the god of love to love one that does not love him. Donne also uses meter to stress important stanzas within the poem. The opening foot of each stanza alternates between an iamb and a trochee. The first and third stanzas begin with iambs while the second and fourth stanzas open with trochees. This change in meter forces the reader to stress the first syllables of the second and third stanzas. Thus the change in meter from unstressed to stressed reveals a harsh tone to the reader. This harsh tone is reinforced with the diction from the two stanzas which include words such as "flame", "plague", "indulgently" and "falsehood". The alternate meter to begin each stanza, coupled with the harsh diction in those stanzas, reveal the negative tone of the speaker and reinforce the argument of the poem.

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