In John Donne's "Holy Sonnet 14" which begins with "Batter my heart, three-personed God," what sort of relationship with God does the speaker ask for? To what sorts of things does he compare that relationship? What might explain the speaker's use of such surprising, even violent comparisons?

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Donne uses forceful and startling comparisons in his Holy Sonnet 14 to show the strength of his conviction in his quest to know God intimately. The initial four lines beg God not to hold back in his reshaping, in breaking down and building up the author anew, so as to better serve God. Donne wants to be rid of his old self, who God has treated, up until now, with kindness.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

Donne wants to give himself over to God completely, and uses a metaphor of a town that has been taken by another, but Donne will allow God to enter instead.

I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you

The last five lines of the sonnet are the most shocking and pleading. The exhortations draw on...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 485 words.)

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