The Concept of A True Spiritual Bond Between Lovers in A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

In this poem, Donne suggests a woman to “grow erect” and undermines her femininity by comparing her to “stiff twin compass” and show his “firmness” in this male-dominating society.

The marginalization is the reason for feminism. Feminists believe that women are equal to men. Many poets had written many poems on feminism. Donne writes about the male and female role directly and through metaphors like “stiff compass”. By using metaphor stiff compass, he wants to say that if the bodies of two lovers are separated by the distance they are like the compass that is at a wide distance but holds the two bodies by the handle and it helps the two bodies to join with each other. It means that they are physically separated but their souls are always connected. If one body of compass wants to move it needs help from another body, in the same way, the male and female always move forward by helping and taking steps together in every situation.

John Donne was a metaphysical poet and he uses many metaphors and illusion in his poems. In his poem “valediction: forbidding mourning” he shows the love between him and his wife. In the poem, John Donne is leaving and he’s going on the journey and He’s saying to the wife, “farewell. Please do not cry for me. Don’t be so emotional I’m coming back soon. We both are faithful to each other. he believes that their love is strong enough to bear up against his separation. His many metaphors show how powerful love is.

To describe true love, Donne creates the scene of separation in his poem. In love, the absence is not a cause for one’s depression and in separation, their love is expanded not condense, it increases, move around all the earth with them. He also talks about the death that even after the death true loves never die. Donne hates lowly love because it is full of lust. He believes that people are falling in love with each other, but that love is only sexually loved. He believes in the platonic love in which sexual element does not enter. He never appreciated the physical appearance of the women, but he was a man who believes in the spiritual love that is difficult to understand. He believes love is always pure and holy.

He said if our love is so spiritual it would be a desecration of this special relationship that we have to tell other people how much we love each other. The poem was written in the 17th century at that time there was still a battle going on between the Catholics and protestants. Protestants tended to say that there shouldn’t be a separation between the laity and clergy. In the 17th century, there was a lot of feminism and have a male-dominant culture. Men were thought to be more powerful than women. Men were prone to violence, stubbornness and violence while the women’s sins were viewed as a tendency to be ruled by their bodies and their emotions.

All men were ruled over their wives and all the property belonged to the husband. Women’s were treated like a slave and have only domestic responsibilities like cooking, serving, teaching and nursing. So, the poet suggests a woman grow erect and undermine her femininity and show his firmness in the male dominant society because he loves his wife so much and he did not want that after his death his wife becomes a part of the male dominating society and treated like the other woman.

He uses a metaphor like “stiff compass” it means that two bodies are separated by his love and are like a foot of compass. His wife is like a foot of compass that is firmly planted, and he is the other foot. No matter how far the bodies go, but they always have returned to the home. As his wife is a fixed foot makes no show to move but death if others do so if the John Donne if his leg starts to move further out then obviously his wife leg of the compass is going to move after him and she only moves when he moves. It grows erect when the other leg comes home. By using these three words “stiff compass, grow erect, firmness” the author leaves a message that women also have powers. They are not only made up of only the domestic responsibility, but they are equal to men and do all the works that men do, and both are dependent on each other to move forward.


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