A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning Questions and Answers
by John Donne

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Discuss the features of metaphysical poetry in "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning."

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"Metaphysical" is an adjective that describes something that transcends the physical world. Metaphysical poets often use complex and concrete metaphors to explore complicated metaphysical ideas—such as death, the subject of Donne's poem. 

Readers and critics characterize metaphysical poetry as explorations of complex, highly intellectual thought. The transition and relationship between life and death is certainly complex, perhaps our most complex subject matter as humans. How does Donne resolve the complexity of dealing with death?

For one, Donne offers multiple ways of thinking about death. Perhaps it is a great conjunction, all things living and dying becoming one, as our souls "endure not yet / A breach, but an expansion, / Like gold to airy thinness beat." Or, if we remain as individual units when we die, our relationship to the living is a parallel one, "such as stiff twin compasses are two." To offer competing descriptions of what death may be like does not undermine any one...

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