Friday, 28 June 2019

Critical Analysis Of A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

Critical Analysis Of A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
The poem, “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” is one of the most interesting and significant love poems by John Donne. The narrator is discussing the situation of two lovers when they are to depart from each other. Throughout the poem, the lover addresses his beloved and consoles her at their separation for the time being. The narrator has to go to France and in compulsion he has to leave his love lady. Both of them become dejected at this but the narrator assures his love lady that their love is the most significant of all the other things because it is spiritual in its nature. He tells that their love is silent in its nature as is the death of a good person because when a good person is on his death bed, everyone around him is calm and composed. No one makes a hue and cry and remains peaceful. Death which is sweet peacefully comes and everyone around him is unable to know his death. In the same way, the love of two lovers is above all the things. They will disgrace the name of true lovers as well as violate the dignity of true lovers if they start weeping at their separation which is not permanent but for a short period of time. They are truly the embodiment of spiritual love. How beautifully, the narrator says in the lines!
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Further, to console his love lady, he compares the movement of trepidation of the spheres with the earthquake. He says that movement of the trepidation of the spheres does not do any damage. It is also silent in its nature. On the other hand, earthquake can demolish any building and create disturbance in the water of the oceans. In the same way, there is going to be some dejection in their life but they should remain calm and satisfied like the movement of the trepidation of the spheres.
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
The narrator compares the spiritual love with that of the ordinary love of ordinary love. Ordinary lovers are in need of physical relationship with each other because they believe that only physical love is true love. They cannot understand the power of spiritual love because they are devoid of this sense of love. Spiritual love is something special for special lovers who are beyond the comprehension of common lovers. So, the presence of both the lovers for each other is not necessary to be in love. Then, the poet uses an important literary device i.e. hyperbole and compares spiritual love to pure gold. He says that if the pure gold is hammered, instead of being broken, it can expand itself to invisibility.
Further, the narrator as a lover consoles his beloved saying that they are like a pair of compass. Ina compass, the one remains at its place while the other always moves around it and bends towards the center. There is no boundary around them. Wherever they are, they are holding each other. One will always move around the second and remain loyal to the other.
“Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun”.
Dr. Johnson makes a statement about this comparison: “It may be doubted whether absurdity and ingenuity has the better”. However, he thought that it was one of the best examples to show the metaphysical touch of a metaphysical poet.
To sum up, like a typical metaphysical poet, Donne is trying his best to get the idea of love that has resemblance with neo-platonic love. He uses wit, extraordinary conceit of compass, image like the death of a gentle and virtuous person, and comparison not for a common reader but for a reader who has great knowledge and understanding of comprehending something special presented by a great genius like John Donne. The use of conceits, comparisons and images makes the poem a great one. In short, we can sum up the discussion by giving the remarks of critics like T.S. Eliot who says about this kind of poetry. “Great poetry is always metaphysical born of men’s passionate thinking about life, love and death”

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