Please explain how John Donne characterizes God through his poetry?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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John Donne (1572-1631) was born in London in a Roman Catholic family, but later joined the Anglican order in 1615 after King James I ordered it. A writer of witty and love poems, he turned to religious/devotional writings later on in his life, possibly due to the miserable life he had and the deaths of loved ones around him. 

Some of his famous poems include "A hymn to God the Father", "Batter my Heart, Three-personed God" and "Hymn to God my God, in my sickness", among others. His religious works reflect christian theme and portrays him as a sinner who seeks to become chaste by surrendering himself to God. He evokes the ideas of Christianity that one must lose oneself to gain oneself. He often compared sexual congress to the divinity, for example: one must surrender to God, same as someone surrenders oneself to their sexual partner during intercourse. He also talks about the temporary nature of women, vanity and the decay of the physical world and compares this to the permanence of God and spirituality. His sonnets describe death, sickness, sin and the love of God. His sonnets also describe men begging god to overlook their sins. In "Three-personed God", a man begs God to ravish him. A consistent theme in many of his works was the use of sexual imagery to describe the soul's relationship with God.  

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