Dependent on the audience, poets often alter the persona of the speaker to suit and please the reader or in John Donne’s case, the listener where Donne’s lyrical poetry was intended for an audience to hear as opposed to read. ‘Woman’s Constancy’ having being read aloud induces a sense of mockery as the speaker intimidates the female subject with the literary intent to amuse the listeners.The repetition of the speaker’s questions in the poem ‘Woman’s Constancy’ creates a condescending tone, where the speaker patronises the subject’s intentions after she had “loved [him] one whole day”. The specification of “one whole” suggests their interactions were tedious and contributes the undermining tone of the speaker as the elongation assonance sounds convinces the audience of the long time period. Nevertheless, this sexual reference suggests that their “new-made vow” has bonded them together as “vow” connotes religious and marital imagery, though the speaker insinuates that this bond will “untie” as she departs. Donne deliberately uses the semantic field of marriage throughout the poem so that the audience can sympathise with the speaker as the religious sacrament of marriage would have been considered holy and unrighteous to destroy. “Fixated on the relationship between the body and soul”, Donne attempts to connect the bodily act of sex and the sacramental unification of souls through the ideals of marriage. Therefore, Donne uses the conventional ideals about marriage to juxtapose ideas of treachery as the subject “forswear[s]” the “oaths” made in their moments of love, enabling the audience to sympathise and agree with.
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