• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do Donne's sonnets differ from Shakespeare's sonnets? In your answer, you should discuss at least two sonnets by Donne and at least one sonnet by Shakespeare.

Extracts from this document...


How do Donne's sonnets differ from Shakespeare's sonnets? In your answer, you should discuss at least two sonnets by Donne and at least one sonnet by Shakespeare. Both William Shakespeare and John Donne wrote sonnets at around the same time as each other. However, both of them wrote very differently yet still deciding to write about philosophical topics. They are different because Shakespeare decides to calm the reader; Donne uses powerful words which make the reader very aware of what they are reading about. "Death be not proud" by Donne is more unnerving to readers than "Shall I compare thee" by Shakespeare. For some people, death is a taboo subject so Donne writes about death in such a way as to give hope to the reader. He suggests that "some have called thee (death) mighty and dreadful". This is a good way of starting his argument because he gives the other sides view and then moves straight on to diminishing that argument. On the other hand, "Shall I compare thee" is a lot more different from "Death be not proud" as Shakespeare's sonnet is about love and beauty which have a calming effect on the reader. ...read more.


which defies the common belief that everything will soon succumb to time. This suggests that his poem is also very powerful, because it surprises a reader just as Donne's poems also do. However, it could also be argued that Donne's claims are even more audacious than Shakespeare's as he is not just defying time, but also death which includes both time and decay. The majority of people believe that humans cannot escape from time, and that it soon catches up with everyone. Yet Donne still writes that whoever "dost (death) overthrow, die not", which suggests that not only will humans live on, but they will conquer time as well, and instead "Death thou shalt die." This paradox is extremely defiant, as death is the cause of people dying, and instead death will kill itself. In all three sonnets, both Donne and Shakespeare talk to someone or something. However, both of their approaches of how they talk to their subject matter are very unusual. When someone is talking to God, they are usually humble and they feel afraid to talk to God. Donne, on the other hand, talks to God as if he has been brought down to his level. ...read more.


This goes a step further than just hoping that death is not the end, because of his use of definite language, for example "not" and "nor". However, in his other poem Donne is definitely more hopeful than certain. One reason for this is his use of hopeful language, such as "may rise" and "except you". Yet Donne may still be more hopeful than Shakespeare because he is relying on God, who would definitely be more reliable than men. However, Donne still feels the need to reassure God that he "dearly" loves him and that he "would be lov'd faine". This would also suggest Donne's uncertainty because he needs to change the subject slightly to make his argument better. Ultimately, I think that Donne is more effective than Shakespeare in putting his views across. Shakespeare makes the reader feel very calm while Donne brings the reality to the reader while still comforting him/her. This means that Donne also has a purpose to his poems. They both write on philosophical topics but Donne is a lot more straightforward in his poems while Shakespeare is more thoughtful. ?? ?? ?? ?? English coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparisons section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparisons essays

  1. Comparing Metaphysical Poems: Donne and Marvell

    to how he would admire each of her body parts if he had forever by saying: 'An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest, An age at least to every part.'

  2. comparing John Dryden(TM)s The Fire of Lond

    However there is a difference Byron uses his inversions on a much larger scale than Dryden, as Byron seems to over exaggerate more whereas Dryden seems to use his to focus on a more of a balanced and reasonable level.

  1. Compare the presentation of relationships in "My Last Duchess", "Porphyria's Lover" and "The Laboratory".

    If this is true then it indicates the Duke's paranoia and ruthlessness and he chose to have her killed even when nothing was going on. Although the Duchess is the subject of this dramatic monologue; she was never named, only known to the reader by her relation to the Duke.

  2. Compare the way the theme of love is viewed and conveyed by the author ...

    If I was asked to give three adjectives to describe love that is shown in My Last Duchess, I would list ''unequal'', ''jealous'' and ''sick''. Unlike in the remaining two, love in this poem is a love of a male to a female, not vice-versa.

  1. Compare 'To His Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell with 'To His Mistress Going to ...

    encouraging him to chase her for as long as possible without giving anything. This is saying that she is sluttish, pretending for anyone else to see, that she is innocent, shy and pure, though this is just an illusion. Donne although kind and considerate throughout most of the poem he still insinuates that his mistress is deceptive.

  2. Compare and control the environment portrayed in the poems London and Sonnet

    The poet is bringing us closer to nature throughout the poem. In 'London' the tone is at times biblical and reflects Blake's strong opinions on religion. Blake uses repetition twice in the first stanza. First the word charter'd which is a reference to the charters that owed ownership and rights to certain people.

  1. COMPARISON:Browning's Sonnet 43 and Byron's So, Well Go No More A-Roving

    With the passage of time, she has given up many things in her life such as her childhood memories, her life at her parents? house etc. But her love cannot be limited even by the concepts of time and space.

  2. How does John Donne and Emily Dickinson portrays the theme of Death in 'Death ...

    Not only he is shown as a person, he is given a very mannered personality, as stated by the lines ?He kindly stopped for me? and ?His civility?. This, in contrast to the deceiving character represented afterwards, create a feeling of mistrust in the reader, implying that Death cannot be trusted.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work