Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne

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Kirsten Furnish
AP Literature
Mrs. Hendricks
November 1, 2012
Literary Analysis of John Donne
This examination of John Donne’s metaphysical poetry includes analysis of Donne’s use of topic, structure, scansion, style and theme. John Donne is known as one of the best writers of metaphysical poetry, a genre of poetry that is characterized specifically by themes of knowledge, intellect, and having a somewhat unrecognizable meter or rhyme. Metaphysical poetry forsakes pure and genial nature of other Elizabethan poets. Paradox, juxtaposition, and philosophy are few of many recurring ideas of metaphysical poems. He had one of the most favored reputations of any major English writer. Donne balanced mainly between devotional and philosophical poetry, quite often showing a great unity of the two. Satire dominated his poetry more than any other idea. Using the topic of metaphysical poetry, this analysis shows Donne’s unusual style of scansion, structure, and theme. “The Canonization” is a complex piece, containing rhetoric, which encourages poetic methods in order to influence readers through different understandings of the place of love within society. The characters presented in the poem are actually different people, with a similar train of thought. Donne uses an angry complainer in order to validate supremacy and purity of love for one another. The two lovers in this poem canonized with each other, making them unified as one. “The Canonization” is often interpreted as representing the five stages to becoming a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church during the time of the Renaissance. These steps include proof of sanctity, recognition of heroic virtue, demonstration of miracles, examination of relics and writings, and lastly, declaration of worthiness. “…the metre of our poets leads to the sense: in our elder and more genuine bards, the sense, including the passion, leads to the metre. Read even Donne’s satires as he meant them to be read, and as the sense and passion...
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