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Write a study of a sonnet, looking at examples by two different poets writing before 1900, showing how they use form to express their ideas. You should include at least two sonnets written by the same poet. Accompanying this with a sonnet of your own.

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Introduction

Write a study of a sonnet, looking at examples by two different poets writing before 1900, showing how they use form to express their ideas. You should include at least two sonnets written by the same poet. Accompanying this with a sonnet of your own. The greatest aspect of a sonnet is that it reflects hard work and vigour. It also displays some of the characteristics that the sonneteer may possess. For example, Shakespeare has given himself a wealth of characteristics throughout his works, but what struck me most, was his power to fulfil what he wanted to say and would take up innumerable roles in which to display his message. I believe that this unveils a new side of Shakespeare every time he writes. I feel that my main aim in this essay is to look at the differences, both subtle and outright that make some of the greatest sonnets and sonneteers so very contrasting from one another. Firstly, it is very important to explore a sonnet. The first sonnet is called, "Batter My Heart" by John Donne. This is a classic English sonnet written at the beginning of the Seventeenth century where Donne unravels his negativity towards himself, and how he demands to be freed from his evil and cast back to God's side. The second sonnet is called, "Death Be Not Proud" by John Donne. This is a sort of argument against the rights of Death, exploring why Death does not, in fact, have any power over anything. In the two sonnets we see Donne as a man who desperately needed God in his life. He felt separated from God because of his sins and shortcomings. Steir, a critic known for his views on Donne states that he could not see himself free from sin: "Donne finds it difficult to accept being saved as a sinner and he cannot convincingly imagine being free from sin. ...read more.

Middle

as Death challenges the very statement that when he kills people, they live on in heaven therefore Donne himself cannot die. The key word here must be "think'st"; it is unreal, untrue that Death is mighty. Moving to the next quatrain, Death is, through comparison, to be viewed as a short rest and sleep, from which pleasure comes, "From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow" you wake up the next morning and Heaven awaits. Yet, in "Batter my Heart" Donne was pleading with God that the next day he wants to be with God and now, Donne is telling Death/the devil that he never had any power over Donne in the first place. From the sonnet lines, we can surmise that Death must be pleasurable. It is only a temporary state, for it leads to life in heaven, therefore it is not as it appears once again. For Death, the audience in the poem, this negation of his power and situation would surely cause great torment and, we would assume, have tremendous emotional impact. The next two lines, "And soonest our best men with thee do go-, Rest of their bones and souls' delivery!" enter a whole verse of argument. They mean, our 'best' men die, 'with thee do go', but their souls live on in heaven, 'souls' delivery!' Add to that the reference to Death being merely a 'slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,' which implies that Death is just a slave to God and kills in fate or chance, Kings, or men who simply want to commit suicide. Donne suggests in 'desperate men' that Death isn't forcefully killing them, they have chosen to die therefore Death is belittled to have no power whatsoever. But moving on, 'And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,' implying that Death is housed in the scum of the Earth; poison is used to kill others, war is killing other people massively and where sickness inhabits, such as Hospitals or 3rd world countries. ...read more.

Conclusion

"But thy eternal summer shall not fade". This tells us that Shakespeare is trying to get across the issue that his Mistresses' "summer", like beauty, will never go away. Nor shall it "your eternal summer" lose its hold on that power which she so richly possesses, "Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;" as in possession. The third line of the third quatrain, "Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade," comments on how the lines are undying. This use of Nor is very effective, for it enforces this idea of setting down a point formed argument. The last line before the couplet, "When in eternal lines to time thou growest;" underlines that even if her lines grow wrinkly, the lines of this sonnet will not, which surely leads to the final couplet so that the whole argument is enforced in just two lines. The final couplet, "So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee" tells us that, She keeps in pace with time, she grows as time grows and as long as humans live and breathe on earth, for as long as there are seeing eyes on the earth then that is how long these verses will live, celebrating her, and continually renewing her life. Will we? Will we ever share thoughts with tender hearts? I love your beauty, your kindness and forth; Something enthrals me, which keeps us apart, We are a magnet with both ends at north. Will we stretch out on a rose petal bed, Time is so long when life is without you; My love is no longer fruitful with red, Life is so different, jugular with blue. My expectations are laid before me, Shall I ever fall in your love once more? No Wedding bells, I am so far from thee; Will we sweep onto the twinkle star shore? Soon the tides will turn and I will attract; Your gift of wonders keeps us in tact. ...read more.

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