Critical Analysis of The Indifferent by John Donne Essay

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Critical Analysis of "The Indifferent" by John Donne

"The Indifferent" by John Donne is a relatively simple love poem in comparison to his other, more complicated works. In this poem, "he presents a lover who regards constancy as a 'vice' and promiscuity as the path of virtue and good sense" (Hunt 3). Because of Donne's Christian background, this poem was obviously meant to be a comical look at values that were opposite the ones held by Christians. According to Clay Hunt, "['The Indifferent'] is probably quite an early poem because of the simplicity and obviousness of its literary methods, its untroubled gaiety, and its pose of libertinism, which all suggest that Donne wrote [the poem] when he was a young man about town in …show more content…

This is first introduced in the last line of the first stanza, and continues throughout the entire poem. The speaker desires a solely sexual relationship with his women, and he believes that such a relationship cannot exist if they are truthful to one another. According to Eleanor McNees, "Donne realizes that erotic license is irreconcilable with norms of truth and troth" (207). Over the first stanza, the speed of the rhythm also increases with the importance.
"There is a rhythmic progression from the even, steady movement and moderate stresses of the opening lines to the slower pace, the stronger stresses, and sharply defined metrical pattern of 'her, and her, and you and you,' and finally the very heavy accents on 'any' and 'true' in line 9" (Hunt 5).

In the second stanza, the speaker continues upon the theme of faithfulness being a "vice," and sexual promiscuity being a virtue. "The sexual tone which was suggested in the first stanza in the anti-romantic details of
'spongy eyes' and 'dry cork' is intensified by the connotations of the words
'know' and 'rob me'; and the sexual pun on the word 'travail' in the following line" (Hunt 5). The speaker is trying to convince the women that he is talking to that promiscuity is a good thing and that neither he, nor the women should be faithful to their mate. This is evident in the lines:

Will no other vice content you? . . .
Or doth a fear that men are true, torment you?

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