What is important about the use of imagery in the poems of John Donne?

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Karyth Cara | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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There are two notable points to consider about Donne's use of imagery. First, he broke the rules of classical imagery usage, he and other metaphysical poets. This means that Donne did not avail himself of the imagery readily at hand in Classical allusion (allusion: an object, expression, symbol, persona that encapsulates some great image that would otherwise require a lengthy explanation; e.g., Herculean power). Donne did not use Classical imagery from Classical allusions.

Second, Donne did use imagery that was fresh and new based as it was upon the new revelations of the sciences. So rather than say he overworked Classical allusion imagery, it can be said that Donne developed new imagery based upon the everyday images within everyday happenings, objects and events as they derived from the new fields of science.