john donne - 1 English 320 13 December 2010 John Donne: A...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 English 320 13 December 2010 John Donne: A Poet’s Beguilement with Bereavement “I were miserable if I might not die.” The last words of John Donne were preceded by a life full of love, spiritual growth, and an obsession with death. After inheriting a large sum of money following the death of his father when he was only four years old, Donne spent his fortune on womanizing, books and traveling. His mother raised him to be a devout Catholic, but Donne turned against his religion when his brother was imprisoned for harboring a Catholic priest. Eventually, King James convinced Donne to join the Anglican Church, in which he gained fame as a preacher. As religion became increasingly important in Donne’s life, his apparent obsession with death became more profound. Donne’s poetry shows a change in tone from one of playfulness to solemnity from his youth to adulthood. This change is likely contributed to the impact death gradually had on his life as friends began to pass, impacting Donne with extreme sadness. He wrote a wide variety of works including both erotic and secular poems. As a metaphysical poet, Donne was notorious for his use of metaphors, particularly in his erotic poems written early in his life. It has been said that Donne’s life was divided into three periods: one in which his death wish was concealed under ambivalence, the second in which his death wish became apparent at times, and the third in which he calmly resolved to accept death. Donne began his writing career as an illustrious erotic poet. His work reflected the lifestyle he lived, which consisted of many lovers until his marriage to Anne. “Song” describes his pursuit of the perfect woman for himself. In this poem, he addresses the audience, asking that they find him “a woman true, and faire” (18). Donne’s work embodies his role as a man devoted to love; he makes it apparent that he would take drastic measures to find his soul mate: “If thou findst one, let mee know, / Such a pilgrimage were sweet” (19-20). On the other hand, some of Donne’s poems allude to his lustful youth filled with an abundance of lovers. “The Flea” acts as a witty pursuit of a young woman’s virginity. In this poem, Donne persuades his lover to give in to his request by comparing their unity to a flea: “Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, / Where wee almost, yea, more than maryed are” (10-11). He creates a rational argument by reducing the loss of his lover’s virginity to something as trivial as the intermingling of two people’s blood in a single flea. Donne’s persona in this poem is one of a charming, irresistible man, and a man who cannot resist a woman’s beauty in other works, such as “The Baite.” Donne creates a playful metaphor describing a man’s pursuit of an attractive woman in this poem. He compares men to fish who cannot resist the appeal of bait, which leads to their downfall by capturing them in the net of lustful love. Some men, according to
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course ENGL 320 taught by Professor Rowland during the Fall '10 term at Saint Louis.

Page1 / 6

john donne - 1 English 320 13 December 2010 John Donne: A...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online