John Donne's Sonnet 14 Essay

John Donne's Sonnet 14 Essay

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John Donne's poetry reflects many things about him as a poet. Mainly, that his poetry reflects his character make-up as he writes the poem. In the later years of his life, he entered into a religious stage that he continued with until his death in 1631. Sonnet 14 is an example of his religious period, where he is "besieged" and asks God to come into his life in a very real way. His use of parallelism, powerful diction and syntax, and paradox presents thoughts on this subject in an umatched way and stresses the depth of his feelings in this sonnet. (Please infer that references of God refer to the Trinity)

Donne uses the Trinity in a couple of ways in Sonnet 14. His first example of the Trinity is seen in line two. The Trinity or the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are characterized in this line by the words knock, breathe, and shine. These words have biblical background and are justified by verses in the New Testament of the Bible.

Jesus uses a parable in a book of the Bible saying that He knocks on peoples' hearts and they are the ones who open the door to Him. The translation of this is, that Jesus only enters a person's heart or life if we let Him in. Donne wants Jesus to knock on the door of His life because he is willing to let Him in.

God is often referred to as the Person who breathes life into man. The example of this is in the Old Testament where he breathed life into Adam and Eve, thus creating life within them. Donne must believe that he has no "life" within him. His justification for this comes from the verse saying that we are dead to God until we are reborn. In our rebirth, He will breathe into us life or Eternal Life.

The Holy Spirit will shine through the believers and that is ...


... middle of paper ...


...very Bride of Satan. Donne also works in paradox into his sonnet. One such paradox can be "untied" when Donne himself is "untied" by looking at the different meanings of the words enthrall and ravish. The most obvious paradox in the sonnet is the fact that Donne will be free only if God should imprison or enslave him. Donne's uses of syntax and diction gives the impression of how forceful and how dominating sin and God can be in his life. Sonnet 14 gives a personal look at Donne's soul at this point. Even in this late a stage of his life, he still feels that God is absent in it. The impression is evident however that God was once a part of his life, yet sin came back in and had taken over yet again. Donne's reluctance to return to such a lifestyle prompts his plea of enslavement and imprisonment by God in order to find the freedom to love and be loved by Him.

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