Essay on The Bold Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne

Essay on The Bold Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne

Length: 2135 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Bold Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne

In the seventeenth century, John Donne's writing was considered extreme. His style became known as metaphysical, a name given to such poets by critics. The term metaphysical is a word used to define something that is based on human reasoning. The Metaphysicals combined mind and intellect with emotion and nature, and they were accused of writing revolutionary poems just to display their learning. Poets who came before the metaphysical writers based their poetry on sweet, smooth musical verse. However, metaphysical poetry wanted no part of the old ways of writing. Thus, metaphysical poetry can be described as bold and daring. It can also be described as sharp and unique. Although this new poetry was criticized greatly, it has become well known in literature.

John Donne is probably the most famous metaphysical poet. One of his most famous poems is "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." In this poem, he combines metaphors, imagery, and emotion to convey the intensity of the poem's meaning. Figurative language is used in the poem to illustrate to his addressee (his wife) preceding an impending lengthy separation that although their separation will be difficult, their sacred love will remain strong. The poem has been suggested to have been written with the intent to explain to his addressee why their separation was not a cause for great sorrow. The poet was probably leaving for France in 1611 on a European tour with his friend Sir Robert Drury. Ann was sick and pregnant and protested being left behind (Cavanaugh).

Donne uses two metaphors to explain just how he and his wife remain united when they are apart. In lines 13-16, Donne describes "dull sublunary lover's love." The poet say...

... middle of paper ...

...A Valediction Forbidding Mourning." The Bedford Introduction to
Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 5th ed. Ed. Michael Myer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999. 790.

Grierson, Herbert. "Donne's Love Poetry." John Donne. Ed. Helen Gardner.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962. 23-35.

Louthan, Doniphan. The Poetry of John Donne: A Study in Explication. Westport, CT:
Greenwood, 1951.

Unger, Leonard. Donne's Poetry and Modern Criticism. New York: Russell and Russell,

Warnke, Frank. "John Donne." Twayne's English Authors Series Online. New York: G. K.
Hall, 1999. <>.

Willy, Margret. "John Donne: Overview." Reference Guide to English Literature. 2nd ed.
Ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick. N.p.: St. James P, 1991.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

John Donne: The Creator of Metaphysical Poetry Essay example

- John Donne is recognized as being the poet who broke the Petrarchan tradition in England and created a new style of poetry: Metaphysical (The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 581, 585-586; TNAEL throughout). Metaphysical poems are not a completely new branch of poetry, but an extension of the point of the Elizabethan tradition (pg. 581, 585-586). “The Sun Rising,” by John Donne, is divided into three stanzas, each ten lines long. The rhyme scheme in each stanza is ABBACDCDEE. Lines one, five, and six are metered in iambic tetrameter, line two is in dimeter, and lines three, four, seven, eight, nine, and ten are in pentameter....   [tags: John Donne, Metaphysical, poetry, Sun Rising,]

Powerful Essays
987 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Metaphysical Poetry By John Donne

- While metaphysical poetry consists of a specific style with expected patterns, different poets emphasize different aspects of as much, choosing to highlight the importance of the conceit, the intermingling of the spiritual and the physical, the need for meditation, and so on. For example, John Donne tends to worry himself with metaphysical conceits to the ends of the universe and back, overdeveloping extended metaphors to the point where the specific object that another is being compared to is referred to in every line....   [tags: Metaphysical poets, John Donne, T. S. Eliot]

Powerful Essays
1213 words (3.5 pages)

Metaphysical Poetry in The Seventeenth Century Essay

- Metaphysical wit and conceit are two of the most famous literary devices used in the seventeenth century by poets such as John Donne. Emerging out of the Petrarchan era, metaphysical poetry brought a whole new way of expression and imagery dealing with emotional, physical and spiritual issues of that time. In this essay I will critically analyse the poem, The Flea written by John Donne in which he makes light of his sexual intentions with his lover. In the first stanza of the poem, Donne tries to convince his lover to have sexual intercourse with him....   [tags: Poetry Analysis, John Donne, Poets]

Powerful Essays
885 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Death Presented in Metaphysical Poetry

- Death Presented in Metaphysical Poetry Death is presented in metaphysical poetry in a number of different ways. However, from the glorified object of desire in Henry Vaughan’s ‘They are all gone into the world of light’ to the way in which John Donne mocks the personified death in ‘Death be not proud’, there are also a lot of common points which are made. The historical context of the pieces is clearly an influential factor. With all the changes happening during the 16th and 17th centuries (the time in which most metaphysical poetry was being written) the only thing one could be certain of in life was death....   [tags: Death Metaphysical Poetry Poems Essays]

Powerful Essays
2392 words (6.8 pages)

Analysis Of The Poem ' Ode On A Grecian Urn ' Essay

- TITLE PJ McDonough Poetry as Power p6 Ms. Schauble The second stanza of John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” begins with the line, “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter.” With this line Keats is saying that while spoken word is important and beautiful, a picture is worth 1000 words. The first four lines of the stanza set the stage for the story of the Urn to be told, and there is a clear separation between the first four lines of the stanza and the last six....   [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Rhyme]

Powerful Essays
769 words (2.2 pages)

Techniques Used in the Writing of Metaphysical Poetry Essay

- The ideas and techniques of the metaphysical poets were much different from those of some of the earlier poets we have read. This type of poetry was established in the early 17th century England. In metaphysical poetry, an obvious use of sex and sexual innuendos is prevalent, as opposed to earlier times when it was rarely even mentioned. It also was a more realistic variety of poetry and was much less fairytale or fantasy. Another technique of metaphysical poetry was the constant use of intellect and metaphors....   [tags: Jonathan Swift, John Gay, Poets]

Powerful Essays
595 words (1.7 pages)

John Donne: A True Metaphysical Poet Essay

- John Donne is unanimously acknowledged as a true metaphysical poet because he made an unlike conceptual thought against the Elizabethan poetry, showed an analytical pattern of love and affection and displayed an essence of dissonance in words and expressions. This paper concentrates on the exploration of the characteristics of Donne’s metaphysical poetry highlighting extended form of epigrams, conceits, paradoxes and ratiocinations. Donne in respect of the manifestation of metaphysical beauty was an unparallel and super ordinate among all poets such as Richard Crashaw, Henry Vaughan, Abraham Cowley, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell and many more....   [tags: John Donne ]

Free Essays
2229 words (6.4 pages)

The Flea By John Donne Essay

- John Donne is known as being one of the most famous and influential metaphysical poets. The term “metaphysical," as applied to English and continental European poets of the seventeenth century, was used by Augustan poets John Dryden and Samuel Johnson to reprove those poets for their “unnaturalness.” As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, however, “The unnatural, that too is natural," and the metaphysical poets continue to be studied and revered for their intricacy and originality. Due to Donne’s personal experiences with spirituality and love, he is able to grasp the true meaning of metaphysical poetry (Brief Guide to Metaphysical Poets)....   [tags: Metaphysical poets, John Donne, Poetry]

Powerful Essays
1144 words (3.3 pages)

Metaphysical Conceit in the Poetry of John Donne Essay examples

- Metaphysical Conceit in the Poetry of John Donne       Many of John Donne's poems contain metaphysical conceits and intellectual reasoning to build a deeper understanding of the speaker's emotional state. A metaphysical conceit can be defined as an extended, unconventional metaphor between objects that appear to be unrelated. Donne is exceptionally good at creating unusual unions between different elements in order to illustrate his point and form a persuasive argument in his poems. By using metaphysical conceits in "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," Donne attempts to convince his love (presumably his wife) that parting is a positive experience which should not be looked upon with sadn...   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Powerful Essays
2135 words (6.1 pages)

Metaphysical Poetry Essay

- Metaphysical Poetry Discuss the uses of metaphors of colonization in metaphysical poetry and/or Milton. "Movement across or through space becomes a process of colonization of that space." During the period of Milton's Paradise Lost as well as myriad of poets construction of an epoque submerged in metaphysical literature, a number of significant events both socio-political, entwined with a systematic religious metamorphism of the sixteenth and seventeenth century led to a time of unrest and discovery....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
3671 words (10.5 pages)