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The Computation

The Computation

by John Donne

The Computation Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. What has happened to Donne's lover? Has she died, broken up with him, or is the poem just an exercise in exaggerated flirtation?
  2. Do you think there is any chance that this poem could be addressed to someone other than his lover? Why do most people think the subject of the poem is a female beloved, even though it contains no gender pronouns or direct expressions of love?
  3. We think the poem asks a profound question: Can ghosts die? What do you think?
  4. What is a "metaphysical conceit," and what exactly is the metaphysical conceit of this poem?
  5. For all your creative writers out there: write a scene that depicts the last meeting of speaker and the person to whom this poem is addressed. What are their personalities like? Do we have an indication from this poem?

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