Rhetorical Analysis Of John Donne 's Poem, A Hymn Of God The Father

1492 Words Oct 26th, 2015 6 Pages
Metaphysical poet John Donne poses a series of existential questions to God in his poem “A Hymn to God the Father,” a religious work, which he wrote after recovering from an illness that brought him very close to death. In “A Hymn to God the Father,” the speaker poses a series of questions and answers, using the antagonistic themes of comedy and tragedy and an alternating A/B rhyme scheme to confront the ideas of sin and salvation. The poem’s form is consistent in the first two stanzas, in which Donne uses repetition of rhythm and content to pose questions to God about sin. But this form changes in the third stanza, in which he uses descriptive imagery to answer his questions by explaining the source of salvation.
The speaker begins the poem by asking questions to God. He asks, “Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun/Which was my sin, though it were done before?” (Lines 1-2) In this first line, the speaker references the sin committed at his beginning, or his birth, and in the second line, he claims the sin as his own, yet also acknowledges the fact that this sin was committed by others before him. The speaker is asking God if He will forgive him, and, more broadly, humanity for the original sin, which he has taken part in simply by being born (Burrow, 281). The next lines pose a question that directly contrasts the previous one. The speaker asks, “Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run/And do run still, though I still do deplore?” (Lines 3-4) The speaker is…

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