Essay on Forbidden Mourning

Essay on Forbidden Mourning

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Simile and Metaphor in John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”

     Valediction: a farewell address forbidding his wife to mourn, strikes me as an extraordi¬
nary title for this poem. Donne’s title has an implied meaning that contradicts how this poem
leads the reader to believe it’s a love poem he writes to his wife before leaving on a journey to
France. A love so strong, so pure, that the bond could never possibly be broken, even after
death. Two souls who will always be together physically and spiritually. Donne’s use of simile
and metaphor enhances the reader’s perspective to see one thing, but come to conclusions of
something else.
     In the first stanza, Donne writes “virtuous men who pass mildly away,” he speaks of the
death of great men. Putting himself into that personification of the relationship between him and
his wife, he could possibly be speaking in the text, as if he is some kind of God over her. He is
obviously on a journey to France and has to leave her behind, but doesn’t allow her to mourn be¬
cause he perceives himself as some kind of gentleman of eminence. Her mourning could taint
him in front of their friends, or possibly show some kind of weakness.
     On the other hand, Donne’s tone changes in the poem to show sincerity and love for his
wife. The relationship between him and his wife is a metaphor to gold (a pure element which
cannot be separated by any means). ...

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