Saturday, 3 November 2012

Name: Sumra Jitendra V
Class: - M.A. (English)
Semester: - 03
Roll no. – 16
Year: - 2012-201
Paper No: - 101
Paper Name: - The Renaissance Literature

Topic: “Analysis of any three poems by John Donne.”

                                                           Submitted to,
                                                           Dr. Dilip Barad,
                                                           Department of English,
                                                           M.K. Bhavnagar University


          John Donne was born in London, most likely in early 1572. The history of John Donne’s reputation is quite unusual. He became famous for the beauty and power of his sermons. Almost none of his poetry was printed in his lifetime and when a first collected edition, including a number of daring love poems , appeared two years after his death, his son Denounced the book as a libel on the memory of a good and holy man, almost as if the poems were not Donne’s. His work has always had discerning admires but also too many readers and critics through the centuries. He was, if he existed at all, an odd presence. His intellectual knottiness, his stress on poetry as speech rather than song and his intense and irregular rhythms all regular a good deal of getting used to.

“The Dream”

          In John Donne’s poem “The Dream” by narrator is waken from a dream by the person who he claims to have been dreaming about like in the more popular Donne poem “The Flea” the narrator attempts to Cajole the woman into coming to bed with him by talking about the poetic conceit (The Dream, The Flea) and how it relates to them. Unlike in “The Flea” However, Donne uses some way complex imagery to describe the dream and the walking and to from his arguments for her staying.

          In “The Dream” he uses the feminine pronoun to describe the one who wakes the narrator, the imagery of an angel and the Cajoling tone all point to a feminine character. Because of this, Donne’s romantic reputation and his use of the female pronoun in other similar poems the following explication assumes that the unnamed person who wakens the narrator is a woman.

          This is a good example of none of Donne’s more erotic poems. It is playful in the sense that we have a sort of verbal foreplay situation; playful, but with a serious desire for sexual union afterwards. The poem teases us, too, as readers; is the poet going to get his wish? Or will he have to go to sleep again and just dream he is making love to his lady?

          The Dream poem plays with ideas of truth, sexual desire and dreams. He is clearly having an erotic dream when his lady fried wakes him for some reason, Is she going or Is she coming (to have sex) ? If the latter, then “My Dream thou brook’s not but continuer’s it. In other words, she can ‘make dreams truths’ so she is a true lover.

          This leads him to liken her to an angel. Angels appear in dreams are dressed inn white, as she would in her nightgown and we call our loved once angels. But angels have their limit. They cannot read people’s thoughts. She however, must before it reached its climax to prevent ‘excess of joy’ waking him instead. So she must be human after all, and not an angel.

          Then he wonders if that’s why she woke him – perhaps she was creeping away? That would be to allow thoughts of “Fear, Shame, Honer” to creep in and suggest “That love is weak” he then plays with the idea of light, as he did in “Truth and light” is seen as complementary. So she has come in truth to ‘ Kindle Light’ but of course, these words have sexual overtones; Torches are something of a phallic, symbol, ‘kindle’ suggests arousal and ‘coming’ and ‘die’ have colloquial meanings of intercourse. So in the end, he resolves his doubt with a win situation; either you go and I finish my dream of live making; or we really make love.

          The ultimate joke is, of course we don’t know if this is a real situation or just a fantasy one for the purposes of writing a poem. This is thus an excellent, its joyfulness, where the truths of dreams, literature and real life tease one other.

“Death Be Not Proud”

          John Donne’s “Death be not proud” present an argument against the power of Death. Addressing ‘Death’ as a person, the speaker warns Death against pride in his power. Such power is merely an illusion and the end Death thinks it brings to man and woman is in fact a rest from world weariness for its alleged. “victims” The poet criticizes Death as a slave to other forces; fate, chance, kings and desperate man, Death is not in control for a variety in taking lives even in the rest it brings. Death is inferior to drugs, finally the speaker predicts the end of death, and thou shalt die.”

          The first stanza focuses on the subject and audience of this poem death by addressing death. Donne makes it /him into a character through personification.  The poet wants death to avoid pride and reconsider its/his position as a “mighty and dreadful” force. He concludes the introductory argument of the first quatrain by declaring to death that those it claims to kill “Die not” and neither can the poet himself be stricken in this way.

The speaker tells Death that it should not feel proud for through some have called it “Mighty and Dreadful”, it is not those whom Death thinks it kills do not truly die, nor the speaker says, “ cant’s thou kill me.” Rest and sleep are pleasurable; thus, the speaker reason, Death itself must be even more so- indeed, it is the best men who go soonest to Death, to rest their bones and enjoy the delivery of their souls. Death, the speaker claims, is a slave to “fate, chance, kings, and desperate men” and is forced to dwell with war, poison, and sickness, the speaker says that poppies and magic charms can make men sleep as well as, or better than, Death’s stroke so why should Death swell with pride? Death is merely a short sleep, after which the Dead awake into eternal life where Death shall no longer exist; Death itself will die.                                                                            

“The Flea”

          The speaker tells his beloved to look at the Flea before them and to note “how little” is that thing that she denies him. For the Flea he says, has sucked first his blood, then her blood, so that now inside the flea. They are mingles and that mingling cannot be called sin or shame, or loss to maidenhead.” The flea has joined them together in a way that “Alas, is more than we would do.” As his beloved moves to kill the flea, the speaker stays her life and the flea’s own life. In the flea, he says, where their blood is mingled, they are almost married – no, more than married- and the flea is their marriage bed and marriage temple mixed into one. Though their parents grudge their romance and though she will not make love to him, they are nevertheless united and roistered in the living walls of the flea.

          She is apt to kill him he says, but he asks that she not kill herself by killing the flea that contains her blood. He says that to kill the flea would sacrilege “three sins in killing the flea that contains her blood he says that to kill the flea would be sacrilege, “three sins in killing three.” “Cruel and sudden,” the speaker calls his lover “purpling “her fingernail with the “blood of innocence.” The speaker asks his lover what the flea’s sin was other than having sucked from each of them a drop of blood. He says that his lover replies that neither of them is less noble for having killed the flea. It is true, he says and it is this very fact that proves that her fears are false; if she were to sleep with him, she would lose no more honor than she when she killed the flea.   

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