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How does the speaker use the varied imagery of the poem to reveal his attitude toward...

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brittany5655 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM via web

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How does the speaker use the varied imagery of the poem to reveal his attitude toward the nature of love in the poem "The Broken Heart" by John Donne?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 19, 2012 at 3:28 AM (Answer #1)

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For Donne, the nature of love seems to be torturous.  Love is hard, and it makes us suffer both while we are in and when we are falling out.  It's hard to stay in love, even for a short time.

Donne describes the nature of love as fickle and harsh.  He comments that he carried his heart into the room, but not back out.  Love is akin to torture.  Love, he says, "swallows us and never  chaws" (stanza 2).  In other words, it never chews us up and ends our misery.

Yet nothing can to nothing fall,

Nor any place be empty quite ;

Therefore I think my breast hath all

    Those pieces still, though they be not unite ; (stanza 4)

Donne finally seems to decide that although love is hard, we can put the pieces of our heart back together and love again.

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