John Donne Criticism

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Daniel Johnston 4/16/09 ENC1102 Dr. Hawkins Oral Poetry Presentation: John Donne John Donne was a man made famous by his use of metaphysical conceit: a strange and intriguing comparison between two subjects when they, in fact, have very little in common at all (pg.1 Dickie). He is one of the most original and controversial poets in the history of English Literature. Most of his works consisted of ideas based on lovemaking and humanities credence to God. He used startling extended metaphors with eye catching imagery juxtaposing the common world and the spiritual world. Donne wrote many satires, epigrams, verse letters, and elegies during his youthful years of study. However, none of these were published, but only shared by a number of close friends. His first collection of poetry wasn’t published until two years after his death. In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were only prized by his close knit literary circle. His reputation is one of the most remarkable of any english writer. For so long his work was not appreciated and considered artless and obscene, while he now has a title of one of the most original and disputed poets, who is known famous for his metaphysical poetry. The idea I interpret from John Donne’s poem, Song, is that you will not be able to find a faithful woman through a lifetime of searching. This poem is a metaphysical conceit of the abnormally small percentage of faithful and virtuous women in the world. Donne uses the absurd and impossible examples of catching falling stars; pregnancies with mandrake root; and hearing mermaids singing to describe just how hard it is to find a beautiful woman who will stay true and faithful (pg.1 Dickie). These outrageous examples may be far fetched, but they are there to serve the purpose of informing the reader as to how Donne feels about the chances of faithful women.
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