John Donne Questions and Answers

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What are some common themes in the poems of John Donne? Please discuss in particular the following poems: "The Good-morrow," "The Sunne rising," "The Canonization," "The Anniversarie," "The Flea," "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning," "The Extasie," "Loves Deitie," "The Relique," "To his Mistris going to Bed," "Holy Sonnets vii ("At the round earth's"), x ("Death be not proud") , xiv ("Batter my heart"), and "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward."

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One theme that weaves through the majority of John Donne's works is love or romance. He was unique in his era for being fairly straightforward in his notions and descriptions of sex, with many poems explicitly referring to making love. These poems relate a sense of a sensual yet pure love. The poetry referred to here tends to reflect on themes of deep and passionate love: a love that is freeing for those who engage in it.

He contrasts this themes with the idea of impure love or love that is burdensome because it is hidden or restrained. In Donne's view, the romance between two wedded lovers takes away fear and restraint and gives the lovers freedom. He describes the delight lovers feel in one another and describes the situation in "The Sunne Rising" of lovers who are angry at the sun for taking away their night together, which they were sharing so freely in love.

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One theme found in many of the poems of John Donne, both the secular and religious, is the theme of love. However, love in...

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