Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bait

In The Bait, by John Donne, Donne uses visual imagery throughout this poem to help characterize the mood and tone of the narrator. Donne also uses a number of metaphors in this poem to help represent people, but more specifically men and a woman. Without these metaphors the poem would be stark and would lose a lot of its mystery of interpretation.
In The Bait by John Donne, Donne uses simple but appealing imagery to help characterize the elements of his metaphors. In this poem, Donne uses fish and fishing bait to characterize men and woman, men as the fish and women as the bait. In the first half of the poem, especially the first two stanzas, Donne establishes a tone of beauty and comfort between himself and an unknown lover. This makes the reader let his/her guard down and start thinking that the poem is going to be about how beautiful love is. However, Donne has a different take on how love is and changes the tone and mood completely in the second half of the poem. This is seen in the way that the visual imagery is completely changed from holding positive connotations to negative ones. At this point in the poem the reader starts to realize that because of the imagery shift and the mood along with it, The Bait is more of a warning about women and love that how beautiful love is.
Throughout The Bait, Donne also exercises the use of metaphors to establish a mystery about what the “bait” actually is. When you first start reading the poem you don’t really have a handle on what the fish are and what the bait is, you in a way simply just view them as aspects of fishing. However, they aren’t just components of fishing, Donne uses them as metaphors to represent men and women and how the initial seduction begins and what happens after the man/fish is “hooked” on the woman/bait… agony
In The Bait by John Donne, Donne uses both visual imagery and metaphors to help set the tone and mood of the poem as well as amplify the message behind it. With out the subtle but powerful imagery, the poem would lose almost all of its indication of tone and mood, as well as the shifts that they make throughout the poem. Besides the imagery, the metaphors that take place in The Bait are equally important in the way that it helps add to the mystery about the fish and bait as well as what love is and has to offer.

2 comments:

Micaela said...

This is interesting...I definetely enjoyed "the Bait" the most next to "the Broken Heart" probably because once I caught on to what it was really about everything he said really added to the overall idea that women are like fish bait to the men who of course are the fish. I also agree and think its cool how both the bait and the fish play an equally important role and that it is debatable whether or not one is more important or holds more importance than the other.

kwall said...

Dearest Nathan,

I sincerely enjoyed your interpretation and explanation of The Bait. I did not enjoy the poem when I first read it, but your commentary has enlightened me on several aspects of the poem that I did not fully appreciate and has given me a new since of understanding of the poem. It is significant that the imagery, metaphors, mood, and tone are crucial elements of The Bait. Mainly because I must have misinterpreted them when I first read the poem but also because they work to create a masterful poem classic of John Donne's work and all metaphysical poets. Donne writes very interesting things about love and that is, as you said, reflected in the change of tone. Brilliant commentary my dear chap!