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" A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" By John Donne, And "Sonnet 116" By Shakespeare

1566 words - 7 pages

Throughout the years, humans have rewritten what true love means. The contemporary meaning of true love is the feeling of lightheartedness that one experiences when around another human. True love in Shakespeare and Donne's time period, was a deep spiritual and emotional connection towards two humans. The connection never fades and grows stronger with separation. Many people believe that one can fall in and out of love; however, many poets wrote about a love that will never disappear. The love that they depicted regarded the truest of all loves. As beauty and time fades, true love will remain forever strong.William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 is an extremely well-known poem for its description ...view middle of the document...

"Alteration and remover are primarily words to describe infidelity" (213). The Day of Judgment is the only time in which love may cease to exist (Vendler 490). The young man, by mentioning these impediments, has announced the strengthening of his own attachment to the listener, reinforcing the marriage of true minds. One must wonder how a marriage can last if it is not made of true love. Perhaps the persona realizes that God requires that each partner love the other, through sickness and health, forsaking others until death do each part. Those requirements can only be held onto in a marriage of true love.In another verse, titled A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne, a second persona describes how true love acts and is evident in daily life. Many historians believe that Donne wrote the poem for his wife, Anne Donne, before his departure in 1611, for France. The valediction is the guise in which the speaker attempts to persuade his lover to remain assured of his love while he is gone (Cavanaugh para. 2). He tries to define and rejoice in a love that transcends the physical realm, proving that their love can survive the separation (Bennett 178). TheJones 3separation of the lovers is like the separation that is caused by death. The physical bond that he shares with his wife will dissolve quietly like the soul of dying man (Bennett 179). Donne expresses his need for no tears and crying, believing that they should not reveal their sacred love. He asserts that if they would display their affections of their grief, their love would be defiled and would be no better than that love of ordinary people (182). "When disturbances happen between their love, if he leaves, it will be like the far-off trembling in the heavens and will be innocent and have no major bearing on their relationship" (Bennett 181). The love Donne describes is one that transcends the physical nature of relationships. Ordinary lovers are caught up in the physical presence of the other person; however the perfect love he enjoys does not need the presence of the physical body to survive (183). As speaker and his partner are connected at the soul, they will never be separated, even though their physical bodies might be. In the sixth stanza, Donne describes his love as pure and precious as gold. Their love can be stretched and expanded without damage, just as pure gold is malleable (185). Donne's most famous comparison occurs in the seventh stanza, where he compares his love to "stiff twin compasses." Joan Bennett describes the compass as the following:The twin compasses are described as two only in the sense that thereare two legs joined permanently at the top. One leg, "the fixed foot" isplanted firmly in the center. The other "travels", describing a perfectcircle, returning to its point of origin. The "fixed foot" of the center foot"leans and harkens" after the other that "far doth roam". The speakerJones 4explains that the center foot, the person who stays at home, makes sure...

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