A very recognized poet,John Donne, is mostly known for his remarkable use of literary elements toallow his audience not only to enjoy reading his poems but also to introducethem into ideas and spiritual messages. In his poems “Holy Sonnet 14″,”Valediction Forbidding Mourning”, and “The Flea”, Donne applies a diverse setof literary elements. Donne uses biblical allusions, imagery, and metaphysicalconceits in these poems to evoke the audience’s attention influence andvalidate his beliefs and opinions for others to foresee. In Donne’s poems “Holy Sonnet 14” and “TheFlea”, he displays biblical allusions to establish a strong relationship withthe audience. Most of the time, writers include biblical allusions to persuadeand convince their audience that their message should be valued and crediblebecause most readers during his time had a religious faithful connection. Thepraying speaker invites God to “batter” his heart (line 1).
This may seem likea fortuitous desire, but the speaker acknowledges that to be created “new” Godneeds to “break, blow, burn” him, a reference to Malachi 3:2-3, where God is arefiner of metals, in control of the fire that outlines the lives of disciples.In addition to having obvious biblical allusions in “Holy Sonnet 14″, Donnewrites a compelling poem, The Flea, that involves biblical allusions as well:”And in this flea our two bloods mingled be” (Line 4). The speaker infers thatthe flea has literally made their two fleshes into one, comparing it tomarriage where “a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be cleavedunto his wife and they shall be one flesh” references to Genesis 2:24.Thespeaker’s motives are clear as he is trying to persuade his lady that giving upher virginity would have no humiliation under the holy prosperity given by theflea.
These two poems have allusions that connect the audience on a spirituallevel.Also, in Donne’s poems”Valediction Forbidding Mourning” and “Holy Sonnet 14” use imagery to takeadvantage of the readers’ senses and create and develop a strong imaginationtheme of his works. Commonly, imagery is applied grasp the reader’s attentionto a visual experience. Donne’s imageryreveals his capability of intellectual character. In “Holy Sonnet 14”, donewrites “Divorce me, untie or break that knot again, Take me to you, imprisonme” (Lines 11 & 12) to infer that he is trapped into a marriage with God’senemy. He begs God to imprison him because he declares that that is the onlyway he can truly be free until God purses him.
This imagery allows the readerto comprehend that the speaker is longing for liberty, and creates sympathy forthe speaker. In Donne’s “Valediction Forbidding Mourning”, he applies imageryto display his tone of compassion and comfort while reassuring his beloved notto worry about their time apart. The speaker says that he doesn’t want to partways with “tear-floods” and “sigh-tempests” which will onlymake his departure more depressing. This use of imagery is still trying torefer to use of nature that Donne begins the poem with, however, theseexaggerations give the audience an image of a storm occurring as the coupleparts ways.
Donne’s imagery tells his readers how meaningful his poems are and givea dramatic tone that ultimately keeps the audience’s attention.Biblical allusions andimagery are not the only devices that Donne uses in his poems to grasp thereaders’ attention. He also uses conceits to make a complex understanding of anobject while creating a deeper meaning of the theme. In “Valediction ForbiddingMourning”, the author creates a comparison of his love to a compass. Donnejustifies that his wife is like the midpoint, “fixed” foot of thecompass that remains entrenched while the other flies away. It stays rightthere, maintaining balance and confidence in the circle.
In addition, “itleans” after the other foot. (27 & 32) In Donne’s poem “The Flea”, he uses a conceit between a household fleaand the hardships of young romance to expand the speaker’s argument for a youngwoman to give up her virginity. , “And in this flea, our two bloodsmingled be;” the flea is representative of the two having intercourse andthe blood being merged (line 4). Donnetries to pursue his audience’s attention by making an uncomfortable andmemorable visualization. Most of the time a flea is seen as dirty andfilthy, which is very random to suggestsexuality with a bug that is connected with disease and contamination. To add a passionate attitude Donne usesconceits in relation to infatuation in his poems through the aspects ofimagery. Donne’s use precise useof literary elements sets him above other well-known poets. His intellectualwriting and metaphysical poetry secure a supportive audience throughout andafter his entire career.
Donne stresses the significance of companionship,religious connections, and his yearning for love through the use of differentdevices. Donne uses of literary elements such as metaphysical conceits,imagery, and biblical allusions create elements of astonishment and curiositydevelops a profound understanding of Donne’s emotions that are conveyedthroughout his poetry. A deep connectionwith his audience is then established that allows the reader’s attention to begrasped.