Compare Two Poems Of The Same Subject In Relation To Techniques Utilized

1208 words - 5 pages

W. H. Auden's poem "Stop All the Clocks", and John Donne's poem "Holy Sonnet 10" each address the theme of death with unique perspective. Donne in "Holy Sonnet 10" reflects upon the inevitability of death. Using the Petrarchan sonnet form, Donne is able to have an intimate conversation with Death that reasons through its impact. Conversely, Auden in "Stop All the Clocks", catapults the reader into an overly tragic and emotional exposition of loss created by death. The strong diction of the poem arrests the emotions, allowing the reader to feel the impact of death. Through varied devices of diction, personification, imagery, consonance, sibilance, contrasts, enjambment and caesura each poet ...view middle of the document...

The sounds of the piano, and the barking of the dog have been silenced and replaced by the "muffled drum" (3); a foreboding, somber sound, and "moaning" (5) aeroplanes reflecting the persona's deep suffering, and indulging the readers' emotions by creating mood. With dramatic announcement, the aeroplanes are "scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead," (6). By capitalizing "He" (6), Auden reveals the god-like significance of the dead individual and the feelings of harsh finality in forceful monosyllables. Further, the visual senses are rejected; the luminaries have been packed up, "put out" (13), and dismantled. Death has conquered both the subject and persona of the poem, leaving both immobile.In stark comparison, Donne employs imagery stating, "From rest and sleep, which thy pictures be, / Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow," (5,6) Death is compared to a restorative sleep that brings one pleasure. The sibilance of "rest", "sleep", "pictures", and "pleasure" (4, 5) soften the experience creating a lyricism in the poem that conjures a gentle sleeping state. The use of the word "flow" (6) signifies the smooth movement into the metaphysical realm. This soft sibilance is in direct contrast with the hard consonance in "Stop All the Clocks". Auden chooses words like "clock", "necks", "black" and "pack" (1,7,8,15), creating a jarring effect to accentuate an abrupt and halting experience.Donne, at the volta provokes the readers' intellect, reasoning that Death is a "slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men" (9), and argues that Death is not master, but subject to circumstance. In comparison, the persona of "Stop All the Clocks" laments "He was my North, my South, my East, and West, / My working week and my Sunday rest," (9,10). The comparison of opposites magnifies the vast scope the dead individual influenced. Repetition of the word "my" implies the deeply emotional and staggering loss the persona is suffering; Death is in control and has wrenched away life and everything of importance.The devices of enjambment and caesura are essential in enhancing the impact of each poem, and understanding each unique point of view. Auden, in stating, "Silence the pianos and with muffled drum / Bring out the coffin," (3,4), creates a mounting emotional anxiety that drive the reader to the image of the coffin, the emptiness, and helplessness of the persona in preventing death. Auden also uses caesura to focus the attention on the persona's true feelings by expressing, "I thought that love would...

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