Examine how Donne uses conceit to convey meaning in his poems.
What exactly do a flea and the intense emotion of love have in common? Does the sun ever intrude upon you and your lover while in bed? To most people these questions would draw nothing but quizzical or blank stares. However, if one asked a certain young minister from seventeenth century London the same questions, he would have suddenly become inspired. This exceptional personality was the metaphysical poet John Donne.
Metaphysical poets use startling juxtapositions in their poetry to create a greater significance in their arguments and intended meanings throughout the poem. John Donne is said to be the unsurpassed metaphysical poet, metaphysical poetry being poetry relating to a group of 17-century English poets whose verse is typified by an intellectually arduous style, admitting extended metaphors and comparing very disparate things. In 17th century new discoveries were being made and social customs such as men being the dominant over women still applied. Through Donne’s poetry we can see that he is goaded and confused by the new discoveries and the social customs avert him from reaching his desires. This is incalculably recognized in his two poems, “The Sun Rising” and “The Flea” where Donne’s arguments challenge some beliefs of the 17th century England. Through “The Sun Rising” we gain a sense of meaning that Donne is irritated and perplexed with new discoveries and that he believes his love is everything in the whole world. In “The Flea” we can see Donne challenging the social costumes of the 17th century, such as chastity of women, his tremendous persistence to sexually unite with the woman and the overall dominance presented over the woman. In both of these poems Donne uses vividly striking differences in the argument to emphasize the overall meaning of the poem.
The power of John Donne’s unusual conceits gets a wonderful expression in the poem “The Sun Rising”. Although it seems...