to mourn or not to mourn

Satisfactory Essays
Katie Donald
Professor John Weatherford
English 1102
9 September 2013
To Mourn or Not To Mourn
John Donne’s poem “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” is a man’s farewell before he departs on a long distance journey. The speaker’s wife is the audience in this dramatic monologue. The speaker metaphorically describes his departure to help him and his lover avoid “mourning,” as summarized in the title. He assures his lover that he will always love her, no matter what physical space separates them. The poem's structure romanticizes the diction to persuade the wife as well as reveals the appropriate manner of departure.
The first two stanzas describe the initial goodbye process that most couples endure when they face separation. The poem starts with the analogy of “virtuous” men passing away to compare how his goodbye shall be the same as their death (1). Calm adjectives such as “mildly” and “whisper” portray that the men's death is peaceful (1-2). In stanza two, the speaker tells his lover to “melt, and make no noise, ” which projects a simple and smooth action. Ultimately he wants to avoid attention as they leave. This analogy suggests that both of these departures shall pass peacefully. Ironically though, their love will not see its death as the men do.
The speaker acknowledges that life continues into the spiritual world as the line between Earth and Heaven blurs together. Although the men pass and are physically gone, their spirits live on with their loved ones on Earth. In this implication, the speaker relays that their love will stay strong despite the physical distance that lies between them. In order to emphasize the spirituality of their love, he carries a religious tone throughout the poem. The Laity referenced in line eight parallels how the couple’s love is in a dichotomy of its own against the norms of societal love. He argues that she would defame their love if she reacted the way that most lovers do when separating because it would categorize

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