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She Stoops To Conquer Essay

1360 words - 6 pages

In his poem “The Sun Rising,” John Donne uses personification of the sun, anti-courtier rhetoric, and metaphysical conceit to express love’s ability to transcend earthly conditions and position lovers at the center of the universe.
The poem opens with the speaker deriding the sun for interrupting his morning with his lover. He addresses the sun as a nosy old man, saying, “Busy old fool, unruly sun, / Why dost thou thus… / Saucy pedantic wretch,” (665, 1-5). The sun, which in most traditions is variously symbolic of power, monarchy, and divinity, is here reduced to a very earthly and lowly state, contrary to his usual place among the heavens. Through the speaker’s personification of him, ...view middle of the document...

In addition to denying the sun’s power, the speaker of the poem suggests that he and his lover are more powerful than him. The speaker mentions the sun’s belief in his own “reverend” strength, the word “reverend” signifying a degree of holiness and due respect, yet the speaker not only subverts this authority, he also claims to have greater power and influence. The elements of Donne’s personification of the sun exhibit the quality of lovers’ devotion to surpass man’s socio-political constructs.
The anti-authoritative sentiment directed towards the sun is more explicitly anti-courtier when the speaker urges the sun to leave them to love and “go chide / Late school-boys and sour prentices, / Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride, / Call country ants to harvest offices,” (665, 5-8). With this statement, the speaker is establishing the sun’s authority over all earth’s inhabitants save for himself and his lover, while simultaneously pointing out his power over members of the royal court and the king. This expression of the sun’s authority over the court is demeaning to their supposed importance and superiority. The image of a body more powerful than the nobility and kings diminishes their grandeur and self-importance. In addition to weakening their power by introducing their master, the sun, this line diminishes their importance by equating them with school-boys and country ants, or peasant farmers, all of whom must likewise answer to the sun. While the king is placed side by side with poor farmers, the speaker is distinguishing himself and his lover from them, putting them far above their supposed superiors as the only two people above common rule. They claim this position of superiority solely on the basis of their passionate love. Their love alone enables them to surpass their betters, suggesting the power of love to raise people above their circumstances and worldly concerns of power and wealth. This strain is continued in the line, “She’s all state, and all princes I; / Nothing else is; / Princes do but play us; compared to this, / All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy,” (665, 21-24). The speaker boldly declares that he and his lover are everything, his lover being every kingdom, and he being every king. They need nothing else when they encompass everything that is through the power of their love. He goes on to claim that all princes are false, and merely act out the parts of the speaker and his lover, who are truly princely in their love. Their purported honor is really just in imitation of the honor the lovers possess as a result of their love. Nor is any wealth as valuable as the love between them. The line, “all wealth [is] alchemy,” suggests that all material treasure is merely worthless metal passing for or...

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