After reading and analyzing "Meditation 17", what do you think Donne means when he says "affliction is a treasure."

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the work  'Meditastion 17' the English metaphysical poet John Donne writes the words

'Affliction is a treasure and scarce any man hath enough of it'

John Donne, in this piece, is discussing the ideas of suffering and of existence. Although spending much of his younger life chasing the ladies and having fun, Donne also later settled into his more sedate and ponderous role as a Church minister. Originally a Roman Catholic, Donne as a Church of England minister still kept many of his familiar traditions at heart - and one of those was the tradition of serving Christ by sharing in his suffering. Donne talks of treasure and riches in terms of storing up heavenly wealth by doing God's will and understanding Him better by suffering like Christ. The more of this one could manage the more spiritually wealthy one would become. Suffering in sickness was to be craved as it allowed one such an opportunity.

Read the study guide:
John Donne's Holy Sonnets

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