What exactly do a flea and the intense emotion of love have in common? Does the sun ever intrude upon you and your lover while in bed? To most people these questions would draw nothing but quizzical or blank stares followed by perhaps a referral to one psychologist or another. However, if one asked a certain young minister from seventeenth century London the same questions, he would have suddenly become inspired. This exceptional personality was the metaphysical poet John Donne.
Many people debate whether Donne’s metaphysical style of verse is genuinely contemplative comparison or merely eccentric imagery. However, if one looks deep enough into the witty his witty works such as, “The Sun Rising,” or “The Flea,” they will find evidence to support both views. It has been said of Donne’s love poetry that it was “losing itself at times in the fantastic and absurd” (Grierson 25).
By using his unusual conceits, or far-fetched metaphors, John Donne utilizes his remarkable ability to draw a wistful sigh of love from any reader while shocking and twisting brain cells at the same time. It is this innovative method of combining such passion and great intellect that entices poets like T. S. Eliot to imitate him and others like Samuel Johnson to criticize him.
... only a short period of time. According to Donne, love is very powerful and causes the widespread destruction to ... and adore, but after one such love, can love no more.' In this quote Donne show us that his heart has ... ill for what he thinks is a year. Love, to Donne is something that you think about for a ... now means nothing to him. Donne also gives us the image of love swallowing his heart whole. His ...
One example of John Donne’s words coming off as a thoughtful and indeed intriguing comparison is presented in “The Sun Rising.” In this composition, Donne proclaims in a conceit, ” She is all states, and all princes, I, Nothing else is” (Line 21-22).
By this he is so boldly declaring that he and his own love are the center of the universe and all that is important (Carey 109).
He goes on to tell the “unruly sun,” “This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere” (Line 30).
By these lines we can see that Donne is portraying love as an all-empowering emotion. He is telling us that being in love signifies completeness, an obsession that makes all else negligible.
When the speaker asserts to the sun, “If her eyes have not blinded thine; Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, Whether both the Indias of spice and mine Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me,” (Line 15-18), he is masterfully showing both his loves’ superiority and the sun’s inferiority. Interestingly, Donne actually uses a popular misconception of the time, namely that the sun revolved around the Earth. Although his science may have been wrong, the technique of incorporating it into his poetry was novel.
If we wanted to argue that John Donne’s prose were actually indeed shocking imagery, then we would use his poem, “The Flea” as the main piece of evidence. During the seventeenth century one popular belief was that during sexual intercourse, the blood of two people actually mixed. This inspires Donne in the poem. He compares love to this flea, and argues to his loved one; “It sucked me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be” (Lines 3-4).
He goes on to say, “This flea is you and I, and this Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is” (Lines 12-13).
Here he is pleading that since this ugly little flea has stolen a drop of blood from both their bodies and joined them involuntarily, now they have become married in a sense.
... eruption that McCullers had while writing each character made John Singer's love for Spiros Antonopoulos the homosexual one we perceive today ... , one theme that particularly stands out is the gay love between John Singer and Spiros Antonopoulos, as well as homosexuality within ... lives. This novel was considered one of McCuller's best works, and it certainly reflects the strange beauty and the encoded ...
However, his plans for seduction are suddenly thwarted when his listener “purpled” her nail by squashing the insect. Then comes Donne’s absolute final appeal. He cunningly declares to his love, “Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me, Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee” (Lines 26-27).
In this last desperate attempt to sweep her off her feet, Donne in essence offers as his last point of persuasion the statement of, “Hey, I’m not all that bad. Remember how you only lost a drop of blood when this flea died? Well, you’ll lose only that much honor when you finally decide to give me a chance!”
It is also in this work that Donne presents a scene “that has the liveliness of the animal that plays there such a prominent part” (Legouis 47), thus giving his readers a third character in “The Flea” which falls out of line from his common portrayals of only two characters. As the work draws to a close, the bug is dead, each person is at their wits’ end, and the matter of Donne and this seemingly reluctant woman is left to our imagination as he ends the work, leaving even the audience in a perplexed and slightly frustrated state of mind.
In retrospect, we now realize that the works of John Donne were both thoughtful and shocking at the same instance. His ideas were probably too advanced for society at the time, but to most readers, Donne’s meaningful lyric always unfolds logically. It is with his unusual imagery tactics, basic everyday rhymes, and lively and witty pioneering spirit that John Donne became the front-runner in the metaphysical movement, building the path for other great poets to walk along for many years to come.
Abrams, eyer Howard. The Norton Anthology Of English Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co Inc, 2006.
Carey, John. John Donne: Life, Mind and Art. NY: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Donne, John. John Donne Selected Poems. Shane Weller, ed. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1993.
Grierson, J.C. “Donnes’s Love Poetry.” John Donne: A Collection of Critical Essays. Editor Helen Gardner. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1962.
... get to work," he thinks. John has an interview with the ... rush himself to get ready for work. Events like these don't set well with John. "Everything will get better when I ... he's running out the door. Normally John doesn't have a problem getting to work on time. But today is different ...