John Donne: Poems

Representations of Women in Song and Women’s Constancy 12th Grade

Although very different in rhyme, tone and structure, both Woman’s Constancy and Song focus on the same theme: Women; in fact, though it may appear that these two poems have many differences, they are actually more similar than they at first seem. Both could be read as quite offensive towards women due to the stance they take and the humor used in them, although I don’t think that they were intended to be so.


One of the crucial differences between Woman’s Constancy and Song is the role women play in each: the former is addressing a specific woman whilst the latter is referring to women in general. This is made clear through Donne’s use of “thou” in WC, creating a personal tone to the poem. Furthermore, he frequently describes himself and the woman as connected in some way – “we are not just those persons which we were”. The use of “we”, supported by “I… too” later on, implies that he thinks of this woman personally rather than just as an object. That certainly does not mean that he cares for her particularly, but rather that she is an active part of this poem. This is backed up by the entire purpose of this poem: persuading her not to leave him. Therefore, this shows that she is clearly not just some passive character, but...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8013 literature essays, 2248 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in