John Donne Poetry Analysis

2693 Words Aug 14th, 2008 11 Pages
John Donne Poetry Essay

The metaphysical poets were segregated in the seventeenth century to form a new and distinct style of poetry that employed immaculate wit, complex metaphors and luminous imagery. John Donne’s poetry is no exception to the form and thematic volume of the metaphysicals. Donne explores ideas in a manner which some readers find confronting and enlightening through relentless use of metaphysical conceits and his direct address to an individual or god. Donne confronts and enlightens seventeenth century readers with his elaborate perspective on love and his perception of death. Although these are two dissimilar subjects, they are interwoven in many of Donne’s poems which includes, ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,’
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It was universally approved that the earth was the centre of the universe and the ‘spheres’ or planets revolved around mankind. This theory is significant in ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,’ as it emphasises the imminence between spiritual lovers. The ‘moving of the Earth,’ and ‘trepidation of spheres,’ reveals the dimension and driving force behind the awesome power of nature, virtually beyond human understanding and control. Donne explores this idea to describe two different events of gigantic proportion to display the cause of ‘harms and fears,’ or ‘innocence,’ which emphasises the idea of the silent mixing of the disjointed souls. If celestial spheres are capable of shaking with ‘innocence,’ the lovers may similarly impart their love in ‘silence,’ absent of turbulent and chaotic earthquakes. Donne condenses the magnitude of celestial spheres and earthquakes and likens their differences to the love shared between two bodies and two souls.

Donne’s representation of love is enlightening as it elevates the subject of love through religious support and holy definitions. However, Donne’s metaphoric conceit of a compass displaying the bond between man and woman is confronting in the contemporary context. The metaphoric conceit of the compass enlightens and confronts the readers across both, the seventeenth century and the modern context. The compass describes the lovers ‘joined at the highest point.’ This elevates love and supports the sanctified and divine image of