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The Broken Heart Analysis

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“The Broken Heart” Analysis In John Donne’s poem, “The Broken Heart”, Donne shows the predacious nature of love and the true faintness of the heart through the use of metaphors. This poem sets a mood of despair and sorrow; moods that reveal the regret of love. It opens the reader’s eyes to realize just how vulnerable the heart can be when dealing with love. Donne associates love with the negative; he portrays it as some evil entity that overtakes people without warning and, if not careful, destroys them from the inside, out. In the first stanza of Donne’s poem, he describes how long the oh-so-terrible phenomenon of love lasts. He compares it to the plague and claims it has stuck with him for an entire year. He states that anyone who claims to have only been in love an hour, or a short duration at all, “is stark mad.” Donne makes a clear point that love simply cannot decay so soon. He compares the duration of love to a flask of powder burning in one day. I assume that it would take quite some time to use an entire flask of powder given the context of the text [small amounts of gun powder was used in the 1700’s and 1800’s for guns each time they were to be fired, and unless one of the soldiers chambered every round as fast as a sub-machine gun, it is very unlikely that they would have gone through an entire flask in one day]. Stanza two reveals Donne’s ideas about the characteristics of love and the heart. He says that once the heart has fallen into the hands of love, it becomes a trifle, an insignificant morsel within the chest cavity. He makes love out to be some sort of mythical predatory creature or an all-powerful army when he writes “he swallows, and never chaws: By him, as by chain’d shot, whole ranks to die, he is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.” This extended metaphor shows love being the aggressor in a situation, creating images of love swallowing the heart whole, a platoon of soldiers being gunned down by another force, and tyrant ruler reigning of a fry; all images of dread and reinforcement that there is no hope. Reading these three lines, the reader will have multiple thoughts of what love could be, however they are all negative. Donne then answers any opposition to his statements by saying that “If ‘twere not so, what did become Of my heart, when I first saw thee? I brought a heart into the room, But from the room, I carried none with me.” He pretty much tries to shut down anyone whose opinion goes against his own by using himself and his own experience as an example. It is almost like he is in denial. He closes the stanza by associating the frailty of the heart with that of glass. It can never be repaired back to normal, original condition, therefore it is worthless now. In Donne’s final stanza of the poem, what is left of the heart is discussed, yet not in such an angry and sorrowful tone as the rest of the poem. The change in tone represents the acceptance stage after heartbreak; he must move on with his life even though the hurt is still there. His chest is filled with the broken pieces of his brittle heart, resolving nothing as it still feels empty inside. He claims that his “rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,” but once a person has truly loved once and lost it, never again can they love another.
John Donne’s poem shows the objective viewpoint of love from the viewpoint of one whom has been a victim of it. It is made clear that the heart is not to be toyed with for it is very delicate; it should be cherished and saved for the right moment for love can be a real…well, bitch. Place the heart in the cruel hands of love, you are officially considered a gambler.…...

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