Literary Analysis Essay on Holy Sonnets by John Donne

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University of Richmond
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Donnes poetry is divided in his early stage in which his work was sensual love poems that were full of carnal in their tones but often filled with sacred poetry. His poets are full of metaphysical expression. This essay will discuss the general plot being presented in each poem such as the setting, characters, and religious symbols that Donne use to pass his ideas in his poems. Moreover, the essay will present the morale of each sonnet to the reader. In sonnet Donne 11 spit in my face also presents Christ in his metaphysical poetry. Jesus is God in spirit who takes the flesh of a man clothed himself in vile mans flesh (line 13). In explaining this Donne use love between a man and a woman. This shows the union between a man and God. He is emphasizing how he has emulated Christ and he is ready to suffer.

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The Flea: in this poem, the character is they, lady. The author uses a flea springing from the speaker to the lady to argue that both of them must make love since the flea bite both of them marking their union. The speaker says: This flea is you and me, and this/our marriage bed, and marriage temple is (lines 12-13). He requests his lover not to kill the flea but she does it. He is pleading with the lady to grant him his wishes but the woman is defending her honor because their marriage is united by God. According to the speaker yielding to her lover, her honor will remain the same. He pleads: Just so much honor, when thou yield to me, (line 26). The biting of the flea is used as a religious symbol to denote holy marriage union between the speaker and his lover.

In his poem, Death Be not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10): The speaker portrays a dispute against the strength of death warning it to stop being so proud (line 1). Death is the character in this poem. His poems present death as powerful and a tyrannical force that creates fear. Death ends people's sufferings Rest of their bones line 6).The poet urges that death is a slave to other superior forces and he predicts that death will also come to an end the poet says: And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die (Holy Sonnet 10, line 14). Death can be overcome using medicines hence it is not fearful. However, in sickness, deaths herald shows the poet is afraid of death and therefore he wants to repent so that he may not burn in hell. Donne uses various strategies to allow holy fear focusing on death, the judgment day and hell. He is afraid that after his death he will be burnt with fiery fire. Such image arouses the emotions of readers so that they may repent their sins. Death is a Gods instrument to shift people to his eternity. Donne present death as a terror among human and it has no reputation.

Donnes work shows God is omnipresent especially his poems while he was a church minister. He attempts to reach the nature and character of God through imaginations. For instance, Batter My Heart, Three Persond God. In Donnes Holy Sonnets, he checks low he loves God and this makes Donne offer God praises (Line 3). The poet presents God as a conqueror although his relationship with God is in doubt. The poet also demonstrates that he is a slave of God who is the master. God is also a provider since he provides the speaker with an anchor in the sea which surrounds him, similarly, at this point, God is a protector. In Donnes poem To the Countless of Bedford, He describes God as a divine being. God is superior to life and john celebrates him. In his poem Batter my Heart the poet presents God as holy and he requests him to use force and change his heart (Line 1).

Donne displays heaven as a peaceful place where people go after dying. Heaven is full of happiness where people will never die nor suffer again. Heaven gives people the second life. In his Holy Sonnet 17, Donne says her soul early into heaven ravished/wholly in heavenly is my mindset (line 4).

Work cited

Robbins, Robin, ed. The Complete Poems of John Donne. Routledge, 2014.

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