The Theme Of Love In John Donne's Holy Sonnet XIV

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Have you ever wanted something that you knew was bad for you, but you wanted it anyway? Love is something that is complicated and heady but so easily controls many. As there are many ways to love, it can be something that is equally bad and good for a person. In John Donne’s Holy Sonnet XIV, he captures this sort of uncontrollable and needy desire that comes with love. Throughout the poem he not only speaks of themes that include uncontrollable desire, and not having self-control when it comes to actions of love and sex; but he also builds up these themes through tones he implies and makes in the sonnet through word choice and symbolism. The story explained throughout Donne’s Holy Sonnet XIV is not too complicated to understand. The…show more content…
In the sonnet Donne uses words that contradict each other. For example, in the second line of the sonnet the speaker says “…knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;” where as in the fourth line the speaker says “…break, blow, burn, and make me new.” The ideas Donne presents in these lines contradict because the speaker is saying he wants different things. In the eleventh and twelfth line the speaker states that he wants to be ‘untied’ and yet he also wants to be imprisoned. Then in the last three lines the speaker makes references to being imprisoned and how he “…never shall be free” but he wants to be ravished and enthralled by God in order to become free. This juxtaposition of ideas gives the sonnet a tone of uncertainty. Donne purposely uses these contradictions to show that the speaker cannot decide what he wants. Donne uses words that not only have a distinctly sexual undertone, but also are forceful as if the speaker is unwilling. In the third and fourth line, Donne says “o’erthrow me, and bend Your force”. This comes across as sexual and could be referring to a sexual partner. Donne refers to the speaker as being ‘enthralled’ in the eleventh line. Enthrall in the Oxford English Dictionary also means to enslave. In the twelfth line Donne also refers to

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