Compare and Contrast “Sonnet XVIII” (Shakespeare) with “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” (Donne) in terms of meaning, tone and style. Conclude by saying which you prefer and why. John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” and Shakespeare’s “Sonnet XVIII” depict love in extremely different ways. John Donne explores the power of the connection between his, and his lover’s souls, whereas Shakespeare focuses mainly on the beauty of his lover. Donne was a metaphysical poet who used his intelligence to produce original, clever poetry, although this did sometimes cause criticism, as some people accused him of trying to show off his intelligence, and being arrogant.
However, others thought that this elevated his poems, and made them more special, as I think it does in this particular poem. As he plays with the language in the poem, it can make the meaning quite hard to decipher, however this leads one to think about the imagery and meanings, which can often lead to a deeper appreciation of the poem. “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” the title of Donne’s poem, leads one immediately to the thought of death, as ‘mourning’ usually takes place after a death. The start of the poem also involves imagery concerning death. The image is of a man on a death bed at the moment before his death, however it is not upsetting, it describes as ‘men passe mildly ” away’ which sounds tranquil and beautiful.
Comparative analysis of poems by W.Blake and W. Shakespeare Someone has said that everything genial is very simple. However, some people would also argue that the more difficult the poem is, the more valuable it becomes to the reader. In their poems, both William Blake and William Shakespeare were able to unite simplicity of expressions and complication of symbols into two beautiful poems. These ...
This is how he would like his parting with his wife to be, as he says in the title of the poem he ‘forbids’ mourning, as he does not believe they are truly parting because their souls will remain intertwined, although they are apart physically. The ‘no’ used as the last word of this stanza is quite ambiguous, as the exact meaning is unclear. It could mean that some are exclaiming ‘no!’ because they do not want this person to die, or it could mean that they do not believe he is really parting as his spirit will live on. I took it to mean that they are trying to decide when the exact moment the man dies is, and it is hard to tell as he already looks so peaceful, that moving from one world to the next does not appear to be a stressful thing, as he will remain in their hearts forever. This is to symbolise that this parting with his wife should not be stressful as they will be together spiritually anyway. This idea continues in the next stanza as he describes how he wants ‘No te are-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,’ This means he does not want her to cry and the word ‘tempests’ is like a storm.
He does not want her to be upset, because, as the next two lines explain, their love runs deeper than other people’s love it would be ‘prophanation,’ or spoiling their ‘joyes’ ‘To tell the layetie’ their love. The ‘layetie’ are ordinary church-going people, and so Donne is suggesting that the love they share is rarefied, and above the average, and so it would be to go against God to tell others of it. The next stanza talks about ‘Moving of th ” earth’ and how sometimes men were scared, as they didn’t know what these movements (earthquakes) were. However when they came to understand, it seemed much less frightening, as most things do when an explanation is provided. He also describes how when looking at the ‘spheares’ or planets, even though they are far away, they are so beautiful they seem very innocent.
This is like their love, it transcends beyond the normal, and there is nothing to fear within their love. The next stanza begins ‘Dull sublunary lover’s love’ all these ‘l’s sound very heavy and dull which represents how this normal love is below their special love. It goes on to give reasons why it is not as special; it says ‘ (whose soule is sense) ‘ which suggests that to stay in love, they need to touch and see each other. Whereas their love lies within their souls, so they do not need this physical proximity. Also it talks of how they cannot cope with absence; they must stay together as their love does not stretch that far.
Love, the four letter word that binds us all together. Whether it is the love of a significant other or your best friend, love is the glue to all relationships. Love is important as it give purpose and significance to bonds created with others. When you truly love another, the love for them is put above yourself. The main types of love are Companionship Love, Romantic or Sexual Love, Family Love, ...
Part of this stanza is in brackets, which seems quite strange for a poem as brackets are usually used for adding in extra information. This doesn’t seem fitting for a love poem, but it follows Donne’s scientific style. He plays around with the language in this stanza also, causing a very witty effect. Clever wit was important for metaphysical poets at this time, as most of the poems around were sonnets which could sometimes be maybe too sweet, or even sickly, and so they wanted to provide a witty alternative for people of similar intellect to enjoy. He describes their love as ‘so refin’d, That’ even themselves ‘know not what it is’ He means that it is so pure and fantastic that even they themselves cannot comprehend it. Donne’s language becomes more scientific as the poem continues he uses words such as ‘therefore’ which are not very romantic, and he explores with ideas such as their souls will not be separated but will be stretched out like hammered gold.
Although this is quite technical, it also sounds quite beautiful as gold is such a precious metal. He also, for the two penultimate stanzas, toys with the idea that their souls are connected like compasses. She is the steady ‘foot’ which is ‘fixt’ which ‘makes no show To move, but doth, if the ” other doe.’ If they are compasses, it means that they are never properly separated, but if ‘the other far doth rome, It leaves, and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as it comes home.’ The compasses are personified here to give this imagery more meaning. The last line of this stanza is quite ambiguous, as it is not clear whether the word ‘erect’ is being used as sexual imagery, or whether it just means they stand up tall and proud, as they are together once more. Comparing their love to compasses is strange in a love poem as it seems very unconventional, as compasses are often associated with maths and technical things, and they are not exactly pleasing to look at.
Shakespeare expresses ideas through the language and imagery in sonnet 162. It uses a variety of rhymes, images and tones to present his definition of true love. The sonnet follows the conventional abab rhyming form, using both full rhymes and half rhymes. Shakespeare employs half rhymes in the sonnet to express the value of love. Half rhymes are used for “love…remove” to show ...
The end of the poem refers to the circle he makes around her and how she makes him ‘end, where’ he ‘begun ne.’ This gives a sense of completeness, and eternity for their love. He is also saying that she is at the centre if his life, and everything he does revolves around her. The structure and rhyming pattern of the poem is very tight, and it has an analytical feeling to it. This may symbolise the togetherness of their souls. “Sonnet XVIII” by Shakespeare also takes an unconventional approach to love, however it is not as extreme as Donne’s. His style of writing is very different, and the language he uses is much easier to understand, however this takes away none of the effect of his writing.
He starts his sonnet with ‘Shall I compare thee,’ a tone which seems almost lazy and pondering. He goes on to abandon this idea as he decides he cannot compare his lover with summer as she is even better than this. This is an unconventional approach as usually poets would go on to say yes, and write a list of comparisons of the beauties of each. However the first half of the poem still goes on to talk about summer, and all the weaknesses of it. He describes how ‘summer’s lease hath all too short a date’ meaning that summer does not last long, as its lease will run out, and summer will suddenly just be gone.
Shakespeare creates an impressive image of summer, calling the sun ‘the eye of heaven’, and then goes on to say that ‘she’ is even better that this. He describes how summer can either be too hot, or too cold, or sometimes ‘his gold complexion dimm’d’ meaning that it can be very cloudy and unclear. The second half of the sonnet goes on to talk about her, and in a way he does go on to compare her to summer as he describes how she is better than it. It is almost like an argument, as he gives the beautiful imagery of summer and then shoots his points down as he talks about his lover. He talks of her ‘eternal summer’ which represents her eternal beauty.
He talks of how she owes it to the world to show her beauty eternally, and how it will never be forgotten or seized by death. He has captured her beauty and memory in this sonnet, and within this she will live on in the ‘lines’ of the poem. He finishes his sonnet in the usual Shakespeare style with an exquisite rhyming couplet, which is really touching. She is immortal through his lines of verse, and this is a lovely thought. Shakespeare’s structure is also very neat, as it is in the conventional sonnet structure consisting of three quatrains and a rhyming couplet with ten syllables per line. This pattern with the very final rhyming couplet to end gives the feeling that it, and his lover’s beauty will be set in stone forever.
This is a traditional sonnet comprised of fourteen rhymed lines of ten syllables. Each line has five feet consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, indicating the poem was written in iambic pentameter. The seven rhyming pairs are set out in the scheme introduced by Surrey; ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The opening line is an example of enjambement. It is only by continuing to the ...
This sonnet concentrates much more on the beauty of his lover than Donne’s poem, which focuses much more on the aspect of the souls of the lovers. I prefer “Sonnet XVIII” by Shakespeare as I prefer the language he uses, because I think it is much more beautiful than the language used by Donne. I think that this is important for a love poem, as the beauty of the language reflects the beauty of the love. However I do think that Donne uses some very interesting ideas in his poem, which makes it slightly more personal, I also like the way he often refers to their souls. I don’t think that a love poem should be too taxing to read though, and I do not think that it should be written with the intention to make the reader think too much.
I also prefer the references to nature rather than the reference to compasses and science, as I think it is much more fitting for a love poem. Overall I just think that Shakespeare has a much more flowing style of writing, and a very gentle tone. I would love to receive this sonnet from someone whom I loved.