Metaphysical Poetry and Jhon Donne

Topics: Metaphysical poets, John Donne, T. S. Eliot Pages: 7 (2692 words) Published: July 2, 2013
Q. Define metaphysical poetry, its characteristics and John Donne as a metaphysical poet. The concept metaphysical deals with the philosophical view of the nature of things. Metaphysical poetry is often mentioned as poetry inspired by a philosophical concept of the universe and the role assigned to the human spirit in the great drama of existence. Metaphysical poetry is involved with the whole experience of man, but the intelligence, learning and seriousness of the poets. Metaphysical poetry has an amazing power to explore and express ideas and feelings about the world and its diverse phenomena in a rational way to captivate the readers. Metaphysical poems are lyric poems. A group of 17th-century poets, whose work is characterized by the use of complex and elaborate images or conceits, typically using an intellectual form of argumentation to express emotional states are denoted as metaphysical poets. Members of this group include John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Andrew Marvell, Robert Herrick and Richard Crashaw who explored the nature of the world and human life, and who used images that were surprising at that time. Their poetic works have been abundant with the various perspectives of human life especially – like love, romance and sensuality; about man's relationship with God - the eternal perspective, and to a less extent, about pleasure, learning and art. The metaphysical poetry presents innovative and wondrous use of puns, paradoxes and employs cunning logical propositions; Metaphysical poem is brief but intense and embodies a style that is energetic and vigorous. A metaphysical poem is an expanded epigram, characterized by the striking use of wit and irony. Metaphysical poetry demands concentration. Moreover a metaphysical conceit makes the poetry more vibrant and notable. It is largely used to make a comparison of cleverness and justice and its invention is often more impressive than its justness. A metaphysical conceit is used to persuade, or to define, or to prove a point that’s why the metaphysical poetry is usually argumentative and persuasive. A metaphysical poet attempts to establish a logical connection between his emotional feelings and intellectual concepts with the help of far-fetched imagery. The clever placement of unlike imagery, thought and emotions, contrasting pair of statements and unifying altogether makes it extraordinary. According to Ben Johnson; “the metaphysical poets showcase their knowledge and intelligence in their poetry.” The metaphysical poets play with thoughts as the Elizabethans had played with words which clearly show the wit and intellect of poets. The controlled flow of emotions is the exhibition of the potential the poets carry to express feelings in controlled language. Metaphors, similes and personifications are significant elements of metaphysical poetry. In addition to this a combination of sensibility portrays the marvelous fusion of head and heart, of intellect and emotion, of thought and passion. The metaphysical poets harmonized thoughts, reasoning, feelings and images. Being successful at merging diverse fields, metaphysical poetry also contains a sense of humour though it is not laughable but it brings a smile to the reader’s face. Metaphysical poetry is usually a dramatic monolog, the poet is addressed to the audience like in drama and every idea is for the audience. Furthermore the abrupt openings of metaphysical poetry are therefore an attraction which creates an interest for the readers. The metaphysical poets were more interested in the use of intricate rhythm, realism and obscurity. Joan Bennet observes that in the case of Donne and his circle, the term that “metaphysical actually refers to the style rather than subject matter”. John Donne (1572-1631) was inclined to the personal and intellectual complexity and concentration that is displayed in his poetry. He is acknowledged as the master of metaphysical poetry. John Donne was Born in London into a...
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