Wit and Donne

Topics: John Donne, Wit, Holy Sonnets Pages: 4 (1571 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Connections enrich understanding in pairs of texts set for study. To what extent is this made evident in the texts you have studied?

Connections between John Donne’s Selective Poems and Margaret Edson’s play Wit to a great extent enrich the audiences understanding of each text and the themes of death and love. When these texts are studied together it is evident through continual intertextual reference that Donne has heavily influenced the play Wit. Although the texts differ contextually, with Donne’s 17th Century poetry and Edson’s 20th Century script writing, their contextual connections allow an enriched understanding of both the texts.

Death is conveyed to a large extent within Donne’s poems of Holy Sonnets. As with many poets in the Renaissance area Donne was obsessed death. He was intrigued by the mystery of death and, due to his Catholic upbringing and his own Christian values, was convinced of the existence of an afterlife. What Donne struggles with within these Holy Sonnets is how he can settle on a particular view on the subject. One of the Holy Sonnets, “Death Be Not Proud”, presents Donne’s inner conflict. In this particular poem John Donne states that death is something that should not be feared but conquered, due to the faith he has in the presence of an afterlife. Through the personification of death in the first two lines, “Death be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful”, death is given a personality, an identity. It is due to this literary technique that Donne can put an emphasis on the idea that Christians have victory over death, and the promise of eternal life. That it is in this afterlife that death, no matter how “Mighty” or “dreadful” will have no hold over them. Donne is able to directly address death, and speak his mind in a way in which is normally restricted to person-to-person communication. During the 17th Century mortality was a big issue in society with the average woman giving birth to between 8-10...
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