The Collar Explication
The Collar by George Herbert illustrates the theme of even though many believers of God question many things that they have to follow in the end they still follow. Herbert uses tone, restricted diction and figurative language to demonstrate this theme.
The narrator of the poem starts out ranting angrily. He has had enough of being loyal for his religion and feels that he is missing out on the pleasure of life. He is going to make up for lost time by having double rations of pleasure. He began to get even angrier and he determined to make up for lost time so he can enjoy the pleasure he has missed out on. Then at the peak of his rage he thinks he hears God's voice speaking kindly to him. His anger disappears immediately and he responds as if he had not questioned his faith for an instant.
There’s no question that the tone of the poem is very angry. The speaker is angry and rebellious but once he thinks he has heard God say “My Child” (lines 35) he immediately respond with “My Lord”(Line 36). Even though he is questioning his religion the entire poem in the end he remains a follower. It’s as if he redefines his faith in his relationship with God instantly. He himself feels that God is calling him to a life of obedience he wholeheartedly responds to show his complete loyalty to God and his willingness to accept all that comes from that loyalty.
The restriction the narrator feels can be seen through the diction. Herbert uses words like “rope”, “tie up” and “cage” all words that restrict movement. The title is restricted word. A collar is something you put on an animal to restrain it, just as the narrator feels restrained by his religion. Religious people have to follow strict rules. The narrator is tired of being restricted and that is why he is so furious throughout the entire poem. That furiousness drives him but as soon as he feels that God has called him he loses his frustration to be the restrained and obedient servant he has...