Certainly it is true that self-centredness and surprise are at the heart of Donne’s poetry. This is especially true of “The Sunne Rising” and “The Flea”. Self- centredness, that is, the persona placing his desires ahead of everything else, plays a pivotal role in molding Donne’s work. This arrogance carries through in his conceit and hyperbole. In “The Sunne Rising” , Donne argues that the lovers are the world, whilst in “The Flea” the persona attempts to convince his lady that the loss of virginity means little. On the other hand, surprise, revealed through the originality of ideas and iconoclastic views gives Donne’s work a ‘shock’ effect which is at the heart of shaping Donne’s arguments in his poetry. The idea that a flea represents the unity of two is not only original and unconventional, but it also surprises and shocks it’s readers.
At the heart of Donne’s arguments is self-centredness. This is important as argument represents Donne’s poetry-it is his poetry. All arguments centre around the persona’s desires. That is, the persona is the topic of the poems. Self-centredness is also revealed in Donne’s work through his argument characterized by conceit. In “The Sunne Rising” the idea that the world of the two lovers represents the centre of the universe is highly self-centred. “She’is all states and all princess, I.” The way in which this conceit is argued is via a multitude of self-centred arguments.
Throughout the writings of John Donne, many different influences were used to get his point across. None of these was used more often than the influence of death. Regardless of the overall subject of a poem, odds are death has been tied in as a theme. Perhaps John Donne s obsession with death comes from the fact that his era was one of aging and decline. Many people were dying of illness and ...
Similarly, in “The Flea”, Donne’s conceit is that the flea represents the unity of marriage so therefore his mistress should give into his sexual demands. This is a highly self-centred argument and at the heart of his work. The poem, “The Sunne Rising” places the world of the lovers ahead of everything. In a patronizing manner, Donne abuses those forces which oppose the lovers- The most obvious being the restraint of time, often represented by ‘the sunne’- Disregarding all the joys the ‘sunne’ gives to the world and to the lovers such as warmth and sight, Donne goes about condemning the ‘sunne’s’ work of warming the world. This is all attributed to the ‘sunne disturbing Surprise is conveyed by similar techniques in both poems. Both poems being as if in the middle of conversation. “Busie old fool” and “Mark in this”.
We are immediately thrust from our comfortable arm chairs directly into the harsh berating world of Donne’s poetry. The audience is given very little time to absorb his argument, instead we are jabbed with a short opening stanza, full of rage and dissatisfaction. In ”The Sunne”, we are bombarded with rhetorical questions “why dost thou” and “Must to thou”, whilst in “The Flea”, we are represented with an outlandish story of a flea which is responsible for the consummation of the marriage between the persona and his mistress that has supposedly taken place.”” It is no wonder way we find Donne’s work so surprising. It is attributed to the fact that, unlike other poets, Donne’s arguments are very direct- “Go chide late schoole boyes” and language authoritarian. At the heart of Donne’s work are his arguments but these arguments (often singular as indicative of both chosen poems) are in themselves often surprising. The notion that the ‘sunne’ should be abused because of an individuals discontentment with the restraints of time is a very unique and unusual. We as the audience are not expecting Donne to abuse an inanimate object especially the ‘sunne’. Convention would suggest that the ‘sunne’ should be treated with reverence and respect- It is responsible for life- however, in an iconoclastic way, Donne scorns the ‘Sunne’ for intruding his happiness. This can only be described as surprising.
At the end of World War I the victorious nations formed the League of Nations for the purpose of airing international disputes, and of mobilizing its members for a collective effort to keep the peace in the event of aggression by any nation against another or of a breach of the peace treaties. The United States, imbued with isolationism, did not become a member. The League failed in its first ...
However, in ‘The sunne’, Donne’s argument takes a surprising turn. In the first stanza, the persona is attacking whilst by the final stanza (after realising that the sunne will not merely go away) Donne accepts the sunne’s presence only if ‘its duties be’ to exclusively warm the two lovers. After an initial contemptuous attack on the sunne, Donne manages to control his argument- This does not merely surprise but reveal Donne’s exceptional wit. Similarly, the argument that the persona’s mistress should sacrifice her virginity because according to a flea they are married is shocking and thus surprising.