Themes, Motifs and Symbols for John Donne's Poetry

1812 Words Oct 30th, 2010 8 Pages
Themes
...............

Lovers as Microcosms

Donne incorporates the Renaissance notion of the human body as a microcosm into his love poetry. During the Renaissance, many people believed that the microcosmic human body mirrored the macrocosmic physical world. According to this belief, the intellect governs the body, much like a king or queen governs the land. Many of Donne’s poems—most notably “The Sun Rising” (1633), “The Good-Morrow” (1633), and “A Valediction: Of Weeping” (1633)—envision a lover or pair of lovers as being entire worlds unto themselves. But rather than use the analogy to imply that the whole world can be compressed into a small space, Donne uses it to show how lovers become so enraptured with each other that they
…show more content…
The speaker of Holy Sonnet 18 asks Christ to explain which bride, or church, belongs to Christ. Neither poem forthrightly proposes one church as representing the true religion, but nor does either poem reject outright the notion of one true church or religion.

.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Motifs
...........

Spheres

Donne’s fascination with spheres rests partly on the perfection of these shapes and partly on the near-infinite associations that can be drawn from them. Like other metaphysical poets, Donne used conceits to extend analogies and to make thematic connections between otherwise dissimilar objects. For instance, in “The Good-Morrow,” the speaker, through brilliant metaphorical leaps, uses the motif of spheres to move from a description of the world to a description of globes to a description of his beloved’s eyes to a description of their perfect love. Rather than simply praise his beloved, the speaker compares her to a faultless shape, the sphere, which contains neither corners nor edges. The comparison to a sphere also emphasizes the way in which his beloved’s face has become the world, as far as the speaker is concerned. In “A Valediction: Of Weeping,” the speaker uses the spherical shape
Open Document