This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Batter My Heart (Holy Sonnet Xiv), By John Donne

1957 words - 8 pages

John Donne an English metaphysical poet and 16th century preacher made his name through his poems on love and his technique of creating opposing imagery through allegory and language (Ribes, 2007). Once Donne renounced his catholic faith and made a commitment to the Church of England in 1615, he wrote a series of religious poems, hymns, and sermons (Hodgson, 1999). The most well-known of his religious poetry is a series of nineteen Holy Sonnets spanning over the early 16th century, the most famous of these is Holy Sonnet XIV also known as ‘Batter My Heart’. Holy Sonnet XIV’s prominence in modern literature is due to the debate surrounding the intended meaning of the poem and the parallel the writer draws between the act of religious enlightenment and the pleasure derived from sexual activity. The Cambridge Companion to John Donne describes the poem as “best known literary text in English that figures spiritual redemption as a purifying sexual act” (Gibbory, 2006). This essay will link in to the description given by The Cambridge Companion and will apply a feminist reading by drawing on the writing of Judith Butler, Helene Cixous, and Sigmund Freud the theorised reading will be achieved by firstly examining the dominant or received reading of the for-mentioned poem.

There is many different readings of Holy Sonnet XIV, author Purificacion Ribes (2007) in his paper makes the same assertion stating that “although some analysis are easier to sustain then others, there is not a single article which gives a thorough explanation of the poem, there is always some verb which doesn’t suit their proposal and is systematically ignored”. The dominant reading is best described by Linda Null (2008) in her journal article Break, Blow, Burn; “the poem is a plea from the speaker to God asking god to other throw him (break, blow, burn) and thereby compel his redemption(make me new)”. In lumens terms the poem is focused on the speaker who is troubled by sin that he wishes to overcome but is too weak to do so. The speaker in the opening line speaks of a “three-personed God”(line 1) here he makes reference to the holy trinity, in studying John Donne it is suggested that he was calling upon the power of the father, wisdom of the son and the goodness of the Holy Spirit. The poem uses a mixture of symbolism, imagery, and wordplay that have allowed different readings of the poem to be achieved; the poem’s received reading articulates two clear metaphors. The first metaphor present in the poem is that of the besieged town “I like an unsurped town, to another due” (line 5); the speaker compares himself to a captured town. In the second metaphor, the speaker describes an unhappy and inconvenient engagement with the enemy (the devil) “But am betrothed unto your enemy”(line 10);Donne’s speaker compares himself to a desperate bridegroom one who is betrothed to someone he does not wish to marry. This is reinforced by the line “to another due”(line 5), due contextually...

Find Another Essay On Batter My Heart (Holy Sonnet XIV), by John Donne

Comparison of How John Donne and Andrew Marvell Present Death in Poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X

1774 words - 7 pages Comparison of How John Donne and Andrew Marvell Present Death in Poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X In the poems To His Coy Mistress and Holy Sonnet X the idea of death plays a strong part in the overall messages of the poems. Both poets use effective but very different methods in order to put forward their views and/or to make a point about society

The Idea of Love in Sonnet 18 and Good Morrow by William Shakespeare and John Donne

1034 words - 4 pages underlying meaning. With a closer examination it can be determined that Donne and Shakespeare have similar qualities in their writing. John Donne and William Shakespeare shared similar ideas to depict the theme of love in “Sonnet 18” and “The Good-Morrow”. Both Donne and Shakespeare used the concept of eternal love in their poems, but with slightly different perspectives. John Donne establishes the idea of eternal love by saying that his lover’s

"The Broken Heart", by John Donne

731 words - 3 pages pardon white American slave owners for what they have been doing to their slaves. In document F, Fredrick Douglass speaks about how shameful Americans should be for thinking that creating a slave of a fellow man is in anyway right. He says, " I will not equivocate, I will not excuse'; I will use the severest of language I can command; and yet no one word shall escape that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a

The Analysis Of The Profane And Sacred In John Donne's Poems 'The Flea' And 'Holy Sonnet 14'

1874 words - 7 pages excellent job in revealing the fact that in "The Flea," the speaker appears to be arrogant, selfish, and disrespectful towards women. He is self absorbed and only cares about fulfilling his sexual fancy, while the speaker in "Holy Sonnet 14" comes across as a humble human being, who is worried about pleasing God. John Donne deliberately makes his metaphysical love poem "The Flea" light-hearted by using humour to explore the issue of premarital sex

Batter my Heart Imagery, Aural and Rhythm

1211 words - 5 pages "Batter my Heart" by John Donne is a plea to God by the narrator. He feels imprisoned by his own sinful nature and describes himself as taken to the "Enemy" of God, namely Satan. The sonnet conveys separate yet related concepts and emotions in three 'partitions' that are created as a result of the sonnets tightly structured form. Donne expresses spiritual transformation in passionate language, figures of speech, (visual imagery) sounds, (aural

Forbidding Mourning by John Donne

1277 words - 5 pages Relentless LoveDistance can make or break a relationship. It determines whether it is worth staying together, even though a couple cannot physically be together. Most types of love could not handle the elimination of every physical aspect to a relationship. “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne is a poem about a special kind of love – a relentless love. By using comparisons and similes, Donne conveys the power that

"The Flea," by John Donne

771 words - 3 pages The poem, "The Flea," by John Donne, is an example of a monologue. However, instead of being a dramatic monologue, it is known as a dramatic lyric. Through the ideas of the speaker being a man, who is addressing his poem to a woman, and the use of the flea, which causes the speaker's words to change as the poem progresses, it can be seen that "The Flea" is a dramatic lyric poem, where the speaker is a man who is attempting to convince a woman to

holy sonnets by john done

4548 words - 18 pages John Donne's Holy Sonnetsby John DonneJohn Donne's Holy Sonnets: Overview1. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: John Donne Biography2. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Setting and Character3. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Themes4. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Four Sonnets Analyzied Sonnet 10: Death, Be Not Proud♦ Sonnet 11: Spit in My Face♦ Sonnet 14: Batter My Heart♦ Sonnet 17: Since She Whom I Loved♦ 5. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Critical

holy sonnets by john done

4548 words - 18 pages John Donne's Holy Sonnetsby John DonneJohn Donne's Holy Sonnets: Overview1. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: John Donne Biography2. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Setting and Character3. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Themes4. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Four Sonnets Analyzied Sonnet 10: Death, Be Not Proud♦ Sonnet 11: Spit in My Face♦ Sonnet 14: Batter My Heart♦ Sonnet 17: Since She Whom I Loved♦ 5. John Donne's Holy Sonnets: Critical

Death Be Not Proud by John Donne

1222 words - 5 pages Death, to many people, is something that is feared and unwelcome. These people do not want their lives to end, or are afraid of life after death. Emily Dickinson gives a different perspective in her poem “Because I could not stop for Death”, as does John Donne in his poem, “Death Be Not Proud”. In their poems, death is welcome. Factors such as the way they were raised and their religious beliefs both have an influence on Dickinson’s and

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning By John Donne

684 words - 3 pages profound to be affected by mere physical separation. He even goes on to reinforce this message, feeling that it would sully what they have to share it with those less holy than they. So sacred, this love, that "to tell the laity" would be an irreverent "profanation of [their] joys".A striking image comes in the second stanza, as well, when Donne asks that he and his lover "melt, and make no noise." This silent and abstract image of pure and complete

Similar Essays

John Donne's Holy Sonnet "Batter My Heart"

680 words - 3 pages This Holy Sonnet has been constructed to conform to the Italian or Petrarchan structure of a sonnet, with two quatrains and a sestet with an ABBA-ABBA-CDCDDD rhyme scheme. The basic rhythm is iambic pentameter, although certain lines, such as the second one, may be seen as spondaic. "Batter my heart" is an imperative to God by the narrator and it conveys separate yet related concepts and emotions in three 'partitions' that are created as a

Poetry Analysis Of "Batter My Heart, Three Personed God, For You" By: John Donne

791 words - 3 pages Poetry Analysis: "Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God, For You"John Donne's "Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God, For You" is an Italian sonnet written in iambic pentameter. The poem is about a man who is desperately pleading with his God to change him. He feels imprisoned by his own sinful nature and describes himself as betrothed to the "Enemy" of God, namely Satan. The speaker has a truly passionate longing to be absolutely faithful to his

John Donne Holy Sonnets Essay

564 words - 2 pages John Donne      Death is a very complicated subject that people view very differently in different situations. In John Donne’s Holy Sonnets, he writes about death in Meditations X and XVII. Both meditations use many similar rhetorical devices and appeals, but the tones of the meditations are very disparate. Donne’s different messages in Meditations X and XVII convey tones of defiance and acquiescence towards death

The Broken Heart A Poem By John Donne

902 words - 4 pages reveals his view of love as a powerful, consuming, and cruel force via many language, features. Good morning/afternoon and welcome to the Poetry matters forum, today I will be presenting my seminar on John Donne’s Seventeenth century Sonnet, The Broken Heart. This poem has universal appeal to many people speculating the same thoughts or questions. In my seminar today I will allow analyse you to appreciate the value of poetry and enter Donne’s mind