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John Donne writes about a variety of different subjects, but his style remains distinctive whether he is discussing romantic

love or religious politics. Write a piece of around 800-1000 words identifying some of the traits (of form, poetic technique, preferred metaphors, etc.) which you find most noticeable and characteristic of his poetry. There are many distinctive features of Donne's poetry that distinguish his own unique style expressed through his varied body of work. Through many of his poems he maintains a tone of insistence and certainty; for instance in his erotic love poem 'The Flea', where Donne attempts to persuade his lover into a pre-marital sexual relationship, the poem begins with Marke but this flea, and marke in this which displays a tone of urgency in this imperative statement with the repetition of marke showing Donne trying to direct the attention of his lover towards the flea in his desperation to deepen their physical relationship. Also, in 'The Sunne Rising' Donne tries to divert the attention of the sun itself, Looke, and to morrow late tell mee, Whether both th'India's of spice..Be where thou leftst them and this hyperbolic assertion of Donne's supposed power over the works of nature itself indicates his insistency that the time with his lover is prolonged as much as possible. This also displays the incredibly high esteem that Donne holds love throughout his poetry; a distinguishing feature of his style as a whole, as in this poem he advocates the power of love over the sun itself, the provider of light and life for the earth. Furthering on from this example is another relatively consistent feature of Donne's poetry, which is uses of hyperbolic language to accentuate his message. In 'The Flea' Donne claims that if his lover kills the flea, it will selfe murder added bee..three sinnes in killing three, suggesting that as their blood is mingled inside of this insect, the extinguishing of its life would thus count as three sinnes as the murder of not only th e flea, but herself and Donne too. This hyperbole could suggest Donne's sheer desperation to hold the attention of his lover, by focussing on this one minute detail of their surroundings and thus warranting close concentration; linking back to the tone of insistence maintained through Donne's work. Religion is a topic considered in depth through Donne's poetry and a feature seemingly significant is the often renouncing of religious ideals that appears evident in many works. In 'The Flea', with the example mentioned previously, Donne repeats use of the noun sinnes which on the surface seems to support the role of religion; however as the poem itself sees Donne advocating pre-marital sex, his focus on separate sinnes becomes twisted and somewhat manipulative; not supporting of Christian ideals. Similarly, in 'The Sunne Rising', Donne appears to scorn the concept of mortality in comparison, whereas religion is normally the only route to escaping the pull of mortality, Love..no season knowes..nor houres..whi ch are the rags of time. The use of the rags of time indicates a tone of somewhat mocking mortality as Donne views Love (which is placed in high esteem from the use of capitalisation alone) as superior in position on the hierachy of the universe as such, when the omniscient God would usually be considered as the height of superiority. This theme of renouncing religious ideals may be linked to Donnes published anti -catholic works, indicating a questioning of his own religious beliefs as he then became a renowned Anglican priest, a dramatic change in lifestyle and beliefs; this questioning is reflected through his poetry. Some of the phrasing choices utilised by Donne create a sense of semantic ambiguity, for instance in Sonnet VI he separates the three entities My body, and soule, and I, the separation is emphasised by the repetition of the coordinator and. The three entities constitute one being and the separation of them here evokes multiple interpretations. Referring back to the religious themes present in many of Donnes works, this phrasing could be seen as mirroring the Christian trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit which together are said to constitute as one omnipotent God. Therefore as Sonnet VI details Donne considering death and questioning the afterlife, the religious connotations could represent him once more renouncing the authority of this God and placing himself in the same trinity format. On the other hand, the separation of the one self of the narrator could simply be to create a tone of detachment as the narrator considers death. In death, the soule is said to depart from the body, and thus the narrators sense of who I is becomes fragmented through obsession with what is to come as opposed to the here and now. The representations and constraints of gender are frequently explored by Donne, and in regards to women, Helen Gardner suggests he does not apparently want to see her, for it is not of her that he writes, but his relation to her. Donne writes elaborately of love and relations with lovers, yet as this quote suggests, he seems to display a lack of consideration for the woman in question as an individual, and her viewpoint. This is evident in

The Flea saist that thou Findst not thy selfe, nor mee the weaker now; Donne fails to give the woman a voice and paraphrases her input in their dialogue within the poem. This insistence on portraying the masculine perspective alone supports Gardners claim of Donne only writing of his relation to the lover in the poem, she is an extension of the concept of love itself rather than a cherished individual. In this quote, Donne paraphrases the woman claiming that killing the flea will have no detrimental effect on them, and the use of enjambment here could indicate a sense of anxiety at losing control over his lover as she fails to submit to his argument supporting their not yet consummated relationship; the male power which is asserted constantly throughout Donnes works is threatened.