go and catch a falling star analysis

Go and Catch a Falling Star Analysis

  • November 13, 2021
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Deep analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star” forces us to put it in the category of love poems of John Donne. It was published in the volume of “Songs and Sonnets”, after the death of poet. In this poem, John Donne openly challenges his readers. He has minutely seen the world but leaves its analysis on his readers and asks them to go anywhere in the world and catch a falling Star. Donne’s attitude towards women is not so good; he believes that beautiful women are morally corrupt. Many people have the ability to achieve impossible targets; Donne challenges them too; he is of the view that even those persons cannot find a loyal woman in this world. “Falling Star” symbolizes for a true and faithful woman. One cannot catch a falling star; therefore, he also cannot find a loyal woman in the world. For Donne it is the most difficult task.  

Click here to Read “Go and Catch a Falling Star” instead of analysis or summary.

Introduction of the Poet:

John Donne’s work is divided into two main categories; love poems and divine poems. In love poems, Donne talks about women and their nature but he does not glorify their beauty. We merely find appreciation of beauty in poems of John Donne. Many former poets used to exaggerate women’s attractiveness. It is not the case with John Donne. In this regard, he is different from other writers.

Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star” transpires that it is not about beauty of women but about their nature. It is to clarify that Donne has not challenged the loyalty of women. To make it clear, let’s take an example; if a person wants to challenge the validity of a document, he can do so only if a document exists; if it does not exist its validity can’t be challenged. Donne is of the view that loyalty in beautiful women does not even exists; therefore, he does not challenge it. He could have challenged it if he had found it in any woman. Thus, there is an element of impossibility. Although, in later sonnets, the poet had changed his attitude yet in love poems his attitude is strict.

Theme Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star”:

John Donne is not a philosopher. He only shares his feelings with his readers. After analysis of materiel things, he, in “Go and Catch a Falling Star” for instance, talks about inconsistent attitude of women. Theme of the poem, thus, is the inconstancy of women. This poem is highly ironic simultaneously symbolic. A woman should not deceive a man. If she wants to do so, she should think thousand times before it. Even then, if she decides to betray, she should verify that her lover is not a poet. Otherwise, a poet will make her famous in his poetry as John Donne has did it. It seems that someone has betrayed John Donne; therefore, he does not consider many impossible tasks impossible but the task of finding a beautiful but loyal woman. He concludes the poem with the theme of unfaithfulness of women.

Stanza 1 Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star”:

The poet gives some examples of impossible tasks. First task is of catching a falling star. We all know that one can pray when he sees a falling star but he cannot catch it; therefore, it is an impossible task.  Second task is of getting a human-child from mandrake roots. “Mandrake” is a human lookalike tree; pharmaceuticals prepare medicines from it. Donne gives its example and says that it is impossible to get a human child from this tree. Third task is of finding the past years. No one knows from where the time comes and where does it go. Thus, it is also an impossible task. The poet adds another task, which is of finding the name of a person who cleft Devil’s feet. Mythically, someone cleaved the devil’s feet but no one knows who clove them; therefore, it is another impossible task.

Fifth task is of listening music of mermaid. Again, Donne has created reference from myth. Mermaid is a character of myth, that has body of woman, whereas tail of a fish instead of legs. The poet knows that it is a mythical character, which does not exist; therefore, it is not possible to listen its music. The last task is somewhat satirical. Human nature is unchangeable. Envy was there even in Satan as evident from “Paradise Lost”. It is also there in humans. No one could remove envy from human nature. It is still part of human nature; therefore, it is impossible to change it. Donne believes that all the above works are impossible; however, he says that one may make these tasks possible but he cannot find a true and loyal woman. From these instances, it is obvious that John Donne is master in creating far-fetched amazing examples.  

Stanza 2 Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star”:

Donne maintains the flow of poem and illustrates another task though not impossible. The poet says that if a person has superhuman qualities, he can see strange things; he can travel hundred miles to see nature; also he can see the whole world until his hairs turns grey, even that person cannot find a faithful woman. From this stanza, it seems that no one can convince Donne regarding female nature. He is against existence of loyalty in beautiful women. He is right or wrong, it is another matter yet his presentation and comparison between different things is praiseworthy. Donne is talking about two things: “true and faire”. He is talking about the woman who is beautiful and loyal. One can find faithfulness in an ugly woman but not in beautiful woman.

Stanza 3 Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star”:

In last stanza of the poem, the poet seems convinced. He promises that if one were able to find a loyal and beautiful woman, he would go on a pilgrimage. Perhaps, Donne wants to advise us that there is scarcity of beautiful and faithful women in the world. Thus, if one finds it then it is necessary for him to worship her. He himself says that he would worship that beautiful and loyal goddess, if found; however, he cannot forget that women are unfaithful; therefore, he changes his mind; he says that he would “not goe” on pilgrimage even if it is “at next doore” because it would be a waste of time. He then talks about possibility; a woman can sell his loyalty; she would have become disloyal until the poet reaches her.  

Style Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star”:

The poet has used colloquial style in the poem. Verse-pattern is neither conventional nor definable. Style of the poem changes with mood of the poet; it is, thus, dependent on emotions. There is a strange kind of music in it. Style analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star” reveals simplicity of the poem but it simultaneously is not conservative.


Donne is not a romantic poet. Even while praising beauty, his attitude remains unromantic. Analysis of “Go and Catch a Falling Star” reveals that the poet has a false belief for women; therefore, he jibes every beautiful woman on earth. He is not talking about any single woman but about every beautiful woman of the world. He is not against beauty but against disloyalty. Undoubtedly, the Poem is a masterpiece. The poet goes at the peak while describing impossibility of a work but suddenly comes down and says it may be possible; the only task, which is impossible in the eyes of poet, is to find a loyal and beautiful woman.


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