The Holy Sonnet By John Donne Essay

1070 Words Mar 17th, 2015 5 Pages
The holy sonnet ‘Since she whom I loved’ by John Donne paints God as a domineering and punitive lord who manipulates human life for self-satisfaction. The poem’s rhetorician is conflicted between his physical and spiritual love. Such a struggle creates tension between his sense of loss and hope that the decease of his lover was requisite for God’s plan. Nonetheless, an ambiguity penetrates the poem, suggestive of a subtle yearning. A tension infiltrates the poem whereby the speaker expresses optimism, whilst acknowledging his emotional wounds. The poem is not a violent outpouring of frenzied emotion, which one would expect from a mourner. The tone of the poem is calm and resigned. The speaker is accepting of God’s decision to reclaim his lover. He refers to “her last debt to nature” which insinuates that all human life is merely a loan, of which death is the final payment. Thus now the debt is ‘paid’, he should not despise God, who obtains the right to recover what he brought into being. The poem is an attempt by the speaker to reassure himself that her death was heaven-sent, as when he claims that his “good is dead”, implying both that all the ‘good’ in his life has perished, but also that her death was beneficial for them both: she is now in heaven and he can set his mind on venturing there (“Wholly in heavenly things my mind is set”). The use of internal rhyme adds a lyrical quality which reinforces the sonnet’s tone of placidity. Nevertheless, these are customary…

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