The main objective of this assignment will be to compare and contrast two poems by John Donne. These two poems are “The Flea” and “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”. I will commence to analyze the two poems separately and noting any differences that may arise.
The speaker of the poem “The flea” is notably the poet who is an omniscient narrator of the unfolding events: the constant sucking of blood by the flea. He is so contemptuous about the flea and feels that it has taken something form him that it did not deserve at all. The use of words (diction) has been deployed so well perhaps to influence on the tone of the poem. Words such as “pamper'd” and “cloistered” are used by the poet to portray the negative feeling he has on this particular flea. There is tension through out the poem in the sense that the poet uses social conflict as a tool of enhancing the theme of the poem. For instance, in stanza two line three and four the poet retorts on the grudge brought about by the parents of his lover: “Though parents grudge, and you, we're met”. I feel that the poet has used the flea to symbolize a child that was unplanned for and though he doesn’t like it he feels it’s hard to kill the same child. The use of symbolism has been affected to create an allegory. The poet has effectively used end rhyme which is slant so as to bring about the rhythm of the whole poem. There is a consistent structure of rhyming throughout the poem. This rhyming structure has been enhanced by both grammatically irregular sentences as well as the frequent use of punctuations throughout the poem. The poet has used active verbs to depict the passage of time.
On the other hand, the persona of the poem “The Valediction Forbidding Mourning” is a casual observer who feels for the love that his fellow men are forcibly trying to showcase to their lovers. The poet has used a substantive amount of diction in this poem as compared to the first poem. For instance he has used words such as “virtuous, profanation, trepidation and Dull-sublunary” to portray the specific feelings he had when time passed by. The poet has chosen his words correctly to match the sympathetic tone of the poem. Just like the first poem, that is, “the flea”, the poet has created a tension that involves social conflict (love) so as to facilitate the rhythm of the poem. For instance in stanza six lines 2 and 3, the persona reckons that though he has to leave, his peers should not consider it as a violation to their friendship.
The major similarity noted between this two poem is the fact that the poet has constantly applied end rhyme so that the there is a regular flow of words thus augmenting on both the theme and rhythm of the poem. When reading the two poems, I noticed that the punctuations and the rhyming used were in fact meant to assist in reading the poem in a way that could easily depict the message or rather the theme. Just like the first poem, this poem has enhanced the use of irregular sentence structures to facilitate the rhyming scheme of the poem.
Unlike the first poem, this poem has somehow used imagery. For instance in stanza six line four, the persona uses imagery to facilitate the comparison of the emotional environment at that particular moment with the one he had observed in stanza five. He says “ Like gold to aerie thinness beat”. This poem has not used symbolism in any way in fact it has reported the happenings in a rather simple way thus providing a simple platform for which to understand the poem. Unlike the first poem, the persona in this poem has used both active and passive verbs that have paved way for an interacting environment between him as the persona and the reader of the poem.