Analyze and Explain the "Sun rising" poem by John Donne?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The Sun Rising is a monologue to the Sun, in which the narrator both exalts it and insults bringing with it a lot of descriptive and emotive language that gears towards the necessity of the Sun in the lives of individuals, similarly as one needs love, God, or any other power that is higher than us.

In this poem, he first asks the Sunlight, just entering his room, to go away. Apparently he is in love and is sharing his bed with his lover, and seeing the sun rising makes him realize that its time to leave the bed, and face the day. He asks for it to go somewhere where he is needed: At hunting parties, in places where people want it to be daylight. But he doesn't.

Then, he praises the sun for being the alseeing eye that lights up the planet, how we gravitate towards it due to its might, and he compares the brightness of the sun and the intensity of its heat and power to the love he feels for his lover, saying that nothing can shine like their love, her eyes, everything.

In terms of form, this poem is highly exaggerated (hyperbolic). It is rich in metaphor and simile, and it accentuates the main ideas of romance, passion, and love by comparing all three to the heat, brightness, and pull of the son as a massive star. It is one of the most famous poems of John Donne, and certainly one of the richest in language.

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