John Donnes Use of Wit Language and Metaphor in Poetry Essay
754 Words4 Pages
John Donnes Use of Wit Language and Metaphor in Poetry As discussed on a previous short essay question, John Donne is considered to be one of the greatest metaphysical poets of our time, even though he published only a small number of poems in his lifetime. The poems he did write were metaphorical and often humorus poems telling the tale of religious love and sex. Being a metaphysical poet he exhibited many characteristics of the metaphysical poets. He wrote with metaphysical wit, metaphysical conceit, metaphors, symbols and paradoxes. If these were some of the things that defined a metaphysical poet, then John Donne is a good example of one. I will use three of his poems, "Holy Sonnet 14", "The Flea", and "Song" to show how…show more content…
On line 5 when Donne states "I, like an unsurpt town to'another due," he is comparing himself to a town that the enemy has taken over. Many people would never think of making such a comparison, a man being similar to a town is not something that people can really grasp on first sight, but I think what Donne was really saying was that because he was a sinner, and had done so many wrongs his body had been taken over by the devil, or the enemy. Because of this he was unable to be held unaccountable for his actions and did not really have a mind of his own, just as a town under enemy control would not have a choice in what they did or the rules that they passed. In line 11 he says "Divorce me, 'untie, or break that knot again". Here he is saying that in order to punish him God must "Divorce him". He is comparing his relationship with God as a marriage. This idea may not be as far off as comparing him to a town, but it is still an example of metaphysical conceit.
Metaphors are evident all through Donne's writing, he uses symbols and paradoxes constantly, giving human characteristics to inhuman objects, letting one thing stand for another in order to allow the reader to better understand his feelings and thoughts on a subject. Donne's poem "The Flea" Donne uses the Flea as a metaphor throughout the entire poem. The poem is actually a sexual
Professor Vivian Bearing vs John Donne in the Play Wit by Margaret Edson
1924 Words8 Pages
Is it possible to misunderstand something, yet still be guided toward its claims? Is it possible for something that ultimately has the greatest impact on your life to be unnoticed until the last possible moment? In most cases, a true revelation does not present itself until later in a person’s life. In the play Wit, by Margaret Edson, the character of Professor Vivian Bearing reaches a profound realization concerning one of the great impacts in her own life. Vivian, self-proclaimed intellectual and widely-feared professor, essentially devotes her life to the works of John Donne, a renowned metaphysical poet. She tirelessly prides herself on her exceptional skills and experience with analyzing Donne’s works, even in the midst of…show more content…
It seems that Vivian subconsciously incorporates Donne’s own religious journey into her own struggle. If the reader doesn’t first realize this, it is evident in Vivian herself towards the end of the play.
Vivian shows her relation to Donne rather early on in the play, however. As she observes the doctors and physicians examining her, she makes a connection between the manner in which they study her body and the manner in which she studies poetry. She refers to the doctors’ rounds of examining when she states, “In Grand Rounds, they read me like a book. Once I did the teaching, now I am taught” (Edson 32). This is Vivian’s first step towards her ultimate realization. In Donne’s work, “Hymn to God, My God, in my Sickness,” more connections can be made between Vivian and Donne’s speaker. Just like the speaker in the poem, Vivian sees her body as the doctors’ map to study. “…my physicians..cosmographers, and I their map, who lie flat on this bed” (Donne lines 1-2).
A major focus point of Wit has to do with pride, and the conversion that Vivian undergoes at the end. Likewise, pride is also prominent in Donne’s writings. He emphatically views it as evil and the root of human sin. He believes it to be so deeply rooted that only God’s intervention can dig it out, so to speak. Donne would presume that Vivian’s suffering during her ovarian cancer is a means to a correction, and ultimately, salvation. In “Batter My Heart,” one of Donne’s sonnets that can be