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John Donne's "The Good Morrow". Essay

1354 words - 5 pages

The Good MorrowJohn Donne's poem the "Good Morrow" is a classic example of how social values were developing in the 17th century. From poems such as Wyatt's "Whoso List to Hunt" in the 16th century, describing women as something worth hunting, to a detailed account of a woman's pulchritude. The poem takes the form of a love sonnet, however does not stick to strict sonnet form, but rather is written in three quatrains. It is a brief but complex poem, developing out of a sense of discovery, and focussing on two main metaphors, a pair of lovers being 'awakened' into a new sense of life, and the new world created by their love.The "Good-Morrow" details Donne's feelings about his lover, and aims to be quite personal with the reader, almost to the point of being argumentative. This is achieved when Donne opens the poem with a startling directness, using the word "I", and ending the first line with the word "I", making the line almost symmetrical. The use of the symmetry in the first line implies that perhaps his life before meeting his lover was structured and dull. He believes that everything he has been doing up until the moment he met her was worthless. By beginning with a rhetorical question, Donne is showing that he is arguing the point, and questioning his lover into agreeing with him."I wonder by my troth, what thou, and IDid, till we lov'd? were we not wean'd till then?"Donne's use of the word 'Did' at the beginning of a line naturally makes the reader want to emphasise the word, particularly as it visually stands out. This further shows how meaningless Donne's life was before meeting his lover; that his life before he met his lover was like childhood. The line "were we not wean'd till then?" suggests that before meeting his lover, he was clumsy and immature, and has now passed into a more sophisticated and adult awareness. This presents the social value that children were generally viewed as ignorant and naïve, and the 16th century values of a hierarchy were still in place, and that love has relieved him from this naivety.Donne also includes sexual puns throughout the poem, which would have been considered indecent, showing his will to stand out and go against society's strict etiquette."Suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly"When Donne mentions the "seven sleepers den," he is not only being metaphorical, but displaying his broad education and intelligence. He is discussing a myth related to seven young Christians who were walled up in a cave, in order to escape persecution from the Romans. They awoke 187 years later when Christianity was the accepted religion. Donne is representing his 'awakening' he has witnessed through being in love, as if he has been asleep up until now, and is only just starting to live. The next couplet then describes how anyone that he ever thought was beautiful was simply a dream of his current lover's beauty."If ever any beauty I did see,Which I desir'd, and got, t'was but a dreame of thee."However, by adding...

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