Themes in Valediction: of Weeping


The main theme is that of separation. There are two facets of this:

  • Is the worth of the lovers' unity shattered by separation so that they are worthless, false on their own? Is this what absence does – devalues us?
  • Is the metaphysics of leave-taking, whilst natural, also unnatural since it could hasten the death, or non-entity, of the other? He argues this much more fully in A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning.


Implicit in the theme of separation is that of the nature and completeness of the lovers' world. Even in their weeping, their tears mingle and form a unity – but it is a destructive unity. Her grief deluges and drowns him. Donne has no answer for this in the poem.

Investigating Valediction: of Weeping
  • One of the other themes that could be considered is the agony and ecstasy of love
    • How would A Valediction: of Weeping fit into that?
  • If you were Donne's lover, how much would you be consoled by the poem?
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