John Donne 's Holy Sonnet 14 : Batter My Heart, Three Personed God Essay

John Donne 's Holy Sonnet 14 : Batter My Heart, Three Personed God Essay

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“For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord 's freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ 's slave.” What the Apostle Paul was writing to the church of Corinth, Greece, seems to be intellectual paradox as a man cannot be a freedman and slave at the same time. This same idea is dealt with in John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet 14: Batter my Heart, Three Personed God” published in 1633. In this poem, the speaker is crying out to God to be set free from his slavery to sin and the evil one. Desiring to serve God, the poet longs for God to use whatever measure it will take to be released from his bondage. “Holy Sonnet 14” deal with the idea that every man is either a slave to sin or God, and the author achieves this idea through the use of form, diction, and imagery.
First of all, the author demonstrates how every man is a slave through the use of specific form in the poem. For instance, Donne utilizes the Petrarchan sonnet format consisting of fourteen lines with two quatrains and one sestet. Throughout the history of the sonnet, they have been used to express a romantic love for another human, but this poem is about a love and desire for God. The author broke the mold of his day and most likely surprised his readers by writing a sonnet about God and wanting to be set free from evil. As well as this, the poem is written in specific meter know as iambic pentameter, containing five metrical feet, each having one unstressed syllable and one stressed syllable. For example, the poet writes, “That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend…” (3). Through the iambic pentameter, the author establishes rhythm that helps his words flow, as he continues to illustrate his bondage. Similarly, Donne employs his own personal tw...


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...unusual imagery to express the idea that he is a slave like every man.
Clearly, the poet’s inner conflict between wanting to do what is right and not being able to is addressed in this poem, and it represents how each man is a slave to something whether he wants to admit it or not. This idea is the main theme and is accomplished through the poem’s form, specifically the sonnet, iambic pentameter, and rhyme scheme. In addition to form, the central idea is attained through diction and vivid imagery. One can learn from “Holy Sonnet 14” that there will be distractions and things that sidetrack him from what he really wants in life, and he must be willing for extreme measures to be taken to achieve his goal. Just as the speaker desired God to deliver him, people need to assess what they want in life and decide whether they are going to be a slave to sin or a slave to God.

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John Donne 's Holy Sonnet 14 : Batter My Heart, Three Personed God Essay

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