What are the chief characteristics of metaphysical poetry? Discuss with reference to two prescribed poems.Answer for 10 marks.

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two main characteristics commonly found in the poetry of the Metaphysical Poets. These characteristics are both wit and the use of metaphors/similes (being either simple ones or unusual ones). As for the poem itself, it was normally written using simple verse.

Some of the most well-known Metaphysical Poets are John Donne, George Herbert, and Andrew Marvell.

As for examples of poems which depict the characteristics above, two poems which exemplify the use of the metaphor are The Flea and A Fever (both written by Donne).

Both poems are titled to lead the reader to believe that the poem is about either a flea or a fever. Instead, given the importance of the metaphor in Donne's poetry, each is not about a flea or a fever. Instead, the poem about the flea can be interpreted to be about how love will drain a person of life. The poem about a fever can be interpreted to be about how one needs to be intense with their life, much like the heat of a fever.