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

Explore the theme of 'love' within the poems written by John Donne. Examine how his approach, his views and his style of verse may have changed as subsequent poets have examined this same theme and the issues which accompany it.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore the theme of 'love' within the poems written by John Donne. Examine how his approach, his views and his style of verse may have changed as subsequent poets have examined this same theme and the issues which accompany it. John Donne describes love as a binding force, and one which completes both the persona's and his lover's lives. The Romantic poets, such as Keats' and Wordsworth's style of verse is much more descriptive of the physical reality with which they deal, whereas Donne ignores the reality and writes about what is beyond reality; the metaphysical. In 'The Good Morrow', one of Donne's abstract love poems, he describes love as something which flourishes to provide immortality and eternal being. To him, love enraptures its beholders and devours their senses before enhancing them and turning them around completely. Using the 'two halves' description, he can convey one of the most sage and discerning statements in his works; that both of their halves join together as a singularity and are then immortal and a complete state of euphoria is gained between them. In the first verse, Donne says that what they have done before they are in love was only pretence and untrue to what their lives' purposes really are, and that is to find happiness in someone else forever. "I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I Did, till we loved? ...read more.

Middle

Donne envies the flea for its audacity to just jump up and suck the blood of the woman he is trying to seduce, and he is clear about this: "In what could this flea guilty be, Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?" In verse one, Donne starts his argument with the fact that what she is denying him is so little, and whilst the flea has just bitten them both and mixed their blood to form a bond, quite discreetly and effortlessly, he has to painstakingly pull down her defences, and that he is becoming distraught about it. He says what they would do is not a sin at all: "Confess it, this cannot be said A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead," Then, in verse two, he uses the flea to his advantage against her. He envies the flea for what he himself cannot seem to do, and he boldly uses it as a third party, a vector, for their marital bonding. Donne says that because their two bloods are mingled in the flea, they are as good as married. "Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, Where we almost, nay more than married are." He considers the flea to be their "marriage temple" and he knows this might be the only way to get away with it, as their parents are not at ease with each other. ...read more.

Conclusion

A style common to Donne's poems and the two modern poems is that they use common objects that normally wouldn't be given a second thought and turn them into a metaphorical object for love, such as the flea in 'The Flea' and the onion in 'Valentine'. But still, Donne insists on discarding the description of the object and linking it to abstract meanings, and concentrates on discussing the object's immediate and distant metaphysical implications. In a sense, it seems as though Donne was one of the last of a dying line of poets. Since the Romantic Period in poetry, the shift in approach there has echoed through the nineteenth century to influence how modern poets write. Romantic and Modern poetry is about linking physical objects such as gardens, eggs, onions, boxes and trees to metaphorical meanings, whereas Donne took his feelings and wrote them down, providing argument and scope for it too. Donne's style is much more persuasive than some of the more recent poems, and the poets who largely brought about this change were undoubtedly the Romantic poets, such as Wordsworth, who expressed that the language used by the poets of his day (admittedly not specifically John Donne - he had died more than one hundred years before) was literary and dead. By expressing and thus acting upon this, he brought upon a paradigm shift in the approach to themes such as love in poetry, and he effectively started the Romantic Period himself, which brought much more descriptive poems than argumentative ones. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Donne 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 University Degree Donne essays

  1. Discuss "The Flea" as a typically metaphysical poem

    In this poem, Donne, or his persona, is speaking directly to a female partner, with the intent of eventually seducing her. The way in which he does this is conceivably confrontational, as he argues that his partner losing her virginity is of equal or even less importance than the existence of a mere flea.

  2. In What Respects is Twicknam Garden a Metaphysical Poem? How Does Donne Use Imagery ...

    by Elizabethans that the "spheares", stars, played divine music to wonderful for people to hear. The idea that love is an illusion is reiterated all through the poem as he compares a lover to an alchemist, "no chymiqe yet th'Elixar got", because just as no alchemist found the elixir of

  1. "The Good Morrow" a poem by John Donne.

    Within the third stanza Donne moves away from the dream like state of slumber, and into reality with the statements of "My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears" (Line 15), a statement of fact.

  2. "Compare and contrast any two love poems you have read, discussing their themes, their ...

    But Donne says, "There will the river whispering run Warm'd by thy eyes, more than the sun; And there th'enamour'd fish will stay, Begging themselves they may betray"

  1. Discuss the significance of the term metaphysical poetry in relation to three of the ...

    one, then their souls would function like the feet of a pair of compasses. Hence, the outer foot will inevitably return to its point of departure. John Donne uses the image of pair of compasses to encapsulate his interpretation of spiritual love, specifically symmetry, intellect, balance, beauty and seriousness.

  2. Poetic Parallelism between Jonne Donne and Lope de Vega

    The flea remains the centre of attention of the speaker (Donne or his persona), the lady, and the reader. Contrary to the Petrarchan habit of praising the beauties of the loved lady, by comparing teeth to pearls, lips to rubies, hair to gold, and so on and so forth, or

  1. John Donne - A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

    The speaker in the poem is unique in that he does not compare the perfection of his love to a traditional object such as a rock or a fortress; instead he chooses to compare the twin legs of a compass to the lovers' sense of union during absence (ll. 25-36).

  2. "Explore how Donne's poetry was influenced by developments in scientific progressions, exploration and religion." ...

    This is a reference to an ideal rustic country upbringing, where some of his existentialist philosophy comes from i.e. essentially one's connection to nature and also to God; the idea that God is manifested through nature. In the second stanza, he refers to new discoveries "Let sea-discoveries to new worlds

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