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By comparing 'The Collar' and 'Holy Sonnet', discuss how the poets show the difficulties in their relationships with God. Do you think they reach solutions to these difficulties?

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Introduction

By comparing 'The Collar' and 'Holy Sonnet', discuss how the poets show the difficulties in their relationships with God. Do you think they reach solutions to these difficulties? In both 'The Collar' and 'Holy Sonnet', the poets discuss problems they have with God. In 'The Collar'. George Herbert appears to resolve this problem. In 'Holy Sonnet', however, no solution seems to be reached within Donne, and to solve his problem he needs God's help. In the very title of his poem Herbert puts forward his problem with God; the poem is called 'The Collar', suggesting restraint and a lack of freedom. This title could also be interpreted as 'choler', which means anger. Anger defines the mood of Herbert's poem up until the last few lines. It is unclear, however, whether the majority of Herbert's frustration is directed at himself or at God, as throughout the poem he is addressing himself. Donne, on the other hand, is addressing God and asking God for help. This suggests that whilst Donne's problems are causing him to plead with God and ask for help. ...read more.

Middle

In a sense the poets want opposite treatment from God, in that Herbert wants independence from God while Donne wants to depend on Him. Herbert's main frustration seems to stem from what he feels is lost labour in God's name. He feels he has gained nothing from his religion, saying 'no harvest but a thorn to let me bloud...not restore what I have lost with cordiall fruit?'. The pain caused by his work and the fact that he is never reaping the benefits angers him. This point is emphasised again when Herbert says 'have I no bayes to crown it?'. The bay leaves symbolise triumph, but Herbert has encountered no triumph to show for his efforts. He feels he has worked to help others but has never helped himself. HE continues to muse on this point with 'but there is fruit, And thou hast hands'. Herbert feels he can take control; he can pick the fruit and does not need to be given it. This concept of 'fruit' being taken against God's will, could be likened to the Bible story of Adam and Eve. ...read more.

Conclusion

This change means that there is extra emphasis on the ending of Donne's poem where he tries to convince God of his need to be dominated by using paradoxes. Despite this, Donne does not appear to have reached a solution to his problems with God. He is still pleading with God even at the very end of his poem, which accentuates the fact that he needs God's intervention in order to solve his problems within his religion. Herbert, on the other hand, does appear to reach a solution to his problems. At the end of his poem as he is describing how he grew more and more angry with God, he writes 'I heard one calling...and I reply'd, My Lord'. He always comes back to his faith even after he has found such anger with it. This could be seen as Herbert never really doubting his faith, but instead only trying to convince himself that he didn't need it and stopping at the smallest intervention from God. It could alternatively be seen as an added frustration for Herbert as yet again he has failed to escape God, however, the tone of the poem suggests that this is not the case. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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