John Donne And Shakespeare Research Paper

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A sonnet is a poem usually consisting of fourteen lines linked by a regular rhythm and one of two mayor rhyme schemes - that of either an Italian or Shakespearean sonnet (Prescott, 2010). Such forms will be analyzed in the works of two of the greatest poets of all time – John Donne and William Shakespeare. They are worthy canonical figures that are still acknowledged and studied today, were influenced by cultural and historical features of the era in which they wrote and included aesthetics in their works which are exclusive to each.
Both Donne’s and Shakespeare’s works are still acknowledged and studied today. To begin with, Donne was born in 1572 in London, England. He was not only a poet but also a sermonist. His works were confined
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Donne was the leading metaphysical poet of the Renaissance. His was the age of transition when many changes in the political and social climate were talking place. There was a conflict between the church and the state and his poetry indicated skepticism of the central problems – the relation of man to God; the division between man and science. The idea of true religion is an important theme in Donne’s poetry and it is reflected in his criticism of the worn out convention of the day. His poetry, namely ‘Batter my Heart’, is filled with biblical imagery and language e.g. “Betrothed unto your enemy”. Shakespeare reflected the culture and society of his day (and how it was changing).In Shakespeare's day, love was an unimportant a factor when it came to marriage. Much of the language symbolizes the Renaissance view of human dominance over nature. It seems that Shakespeare is pointing out how humanity is the center of the living universe with every other object there to serve the needs of humanity. After the introduction of beauty and nature, Shakespeare elevates the status of man and woman in “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”. He then describes all of the beauty of nature that falls short of the vibrant nature of humanity. The self-respect of the time period is captured in the lines of this sonnet and has truly lived on as Shakespeare had …show more content…
As for Donne, ‘Batter my Heart’ is based on the Italian sonnet form with the rhyme scheme – abba abba for the octave (first eight lines). However, what is unique is Donne’s merging of the Shakespearean sonnet by replacing the last two lines of the sestet with a rhyming couplet. In line 5, Donne uses the simile "like an usurpt town" to describe his condition of slavery to sin and how his conscience and reason have been completely overwhelmed by Satan. The only way he can be saved is to "batter"- smash through-the gates of the captive town (his heart) and release him from the clutches of Satan and save his soul. In the sestet, Donne uses the metaphor of "betrothal" to indicate that he is enslaved to Satan and that only if God divorces him and "breaks that knot again" he will be really free. The alliteration of "break, blow, burn" in line reminds the readers of this destructive tendency. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, ‘Shall I compare Thee to a Summer’s Day’, a comparison is being made between the poet’s friend and a summer’s day, making using of a simile. In line 5, the sun becomes the ‘eye of heaven’ where the sun develops into a human face with a ‘gold complexion’. Imagery can be seen as a way of giving shape to the form of the poem. A ‘summer’s day’ is an image that evokes impressions of sunshine and warmth. ‘thy eternal summer shall not fade’ is a metaphor suggesting his friend will always be young to

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