The Bait - Poem Analysis

2767 Words Mar 2nd, 2013 12 Pages
The Bait - DIDLS Analysis

The Bait, a poem written by metaphysical poet, John Donne, during the early seventeenth century, tells the story of a woman whose physical attractiveness and coquettish behaviour prove destructive as they succeed in ruining her chances of finding a pure and meaningful relationship. This poem is recounted from the point of view of a man whom, amongst many other men, has pursued this woman and become emotionally hurt in the process as he finds her actions, in response to his affections, to be heartless and insensitive. Throughout this poem, Donne uses elevated diction, contrasting imagery, influential details, metaphysical conceit, both figurative and seditious language, and elongated sentence structure in order
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This image also adds to the seductive tone of the poem, for the words “live bath” contain a sexual connotation, alluding to the river as an area of great fertility. Donne then goes on, within the second line of the third stanza, to convey an important detail, in the form of a metaphysical conceit, comparing other competing women to “channels”. Within this line, the speaker states that the many fish in the pond which swim towards the lady “every channel hath.” This detail indicates that the men, or fish, that are in pursuit of the speaker’s mistress, have many other woman at their disposal upon which they might choose to bestow their affections. This detail, therefore, increases the value of the speaker’s mistress, for it indicates that her physical beauty has succeeded in causing men to pursue her instead of her lesser valued competitors. This adds to the foreboding tone of the third stanza, for it shows the reader the danger of the degree of power which possesses the speaker’s mistress over the souls of these men. To complete the shift in tone within the third stanza, Donne uses the last line of the stanza to convey important detail in regards to the consequences of the woman’s seductive power over her lovers’ minds. Within this line, the speaker refers the men, or rather fish, as “Gladder to catch thee, than thou him”. Through this phrase, the…