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Donne’s use of conceit: Essay

The word conceit as a literary term can be defined is a “fairly elaborate figurative device”. The pleasure drawn form conceit is intellectual rather than sensual. John Donne has made abundant use of conceits in his love and religious poems to convey his message in a beautiful and intellectual way to his readers. He has made abundant use of metaphors, imagery and similes in his poems in order to pregnant them with aesthetic pleasure of first water. His poem ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’ presents a glorious example of the use of metaphorical conceits in the love poems.

In this poem he discusses and compares the intricate web of relationship between love, soul and body with the drawing compasses. The basic them of the poem is that love is a strong and powerful passion and it has the power of keeping the lovers linked together no matter how vast the physical differences are between them they will eventually meet and live together just like when one arm of compass started its journey and get separated from its other half. At the completion of the circle the separated half comes back and becomes joined together with its partner.

That is the case which John Donne wanted to make with respect to the pair of the lovers in his poem ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’ in which the lover says to his beloved, “Yet, when the other far doth roam,/ It leans, and hearkens after it, / And grows erect, as that comes home. ” This basically implies that she must not fear the separation as the power of her love will guard him and bring him back to her at last. John Donne also makes a very good and meaningful use of conceit in his spiritual poems.

For instance in his holy poem ‘A Nocturnal Upon Saint Lucy’s Day’ the use of summer solastics is made to convey in a marvelous way the hopes of the poet. He says in the poem that “TIS the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,/Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;/ The sun is spent, and now his flasks/ Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;” the real meaning of the poet is to present himself as an empty self which will be rejuvenated by love. “Rape of the Lock” and the satirical portrait of Belinda.

The mock-heroic is defined as a style of writing in which a heroic manner is adopted to make a trivial subject seem grand in such a way as to satirize the style, and it is therefore commonly used in burlesque and parody. Alexander pope use this style in his long poem entitled “Rape of the Lock” to satirize the manners and life style of the fashionable society of eighteenth century England. The most important incident in the poem is the cutting of a lock of hair that resulted in the development of fight between two families, as he says “What dire Offence from am’rous Causes springs,/What mighty Contests rise from trivial Things, [I.

1-2]” . Belinda is the heroine of the poem and she is also served as the butt of satire by Pope. She is discussed as the vain and empty minded women of that fashionable society. Who cares more for her beauty and less for her religion and morality, he says that “And now, unveil’d, the Toilet stands display’d,/Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid. /First, rob’d in White, the Nymph intent adores/With Head uncover’d, the Cosmetic Pow’rs. /A heav’nly Image in the Glass appears,/To that she bends, to that her Eyes she rears; [l. 121-6].

” Belinda is also criticized by Pope in the way she has placed bible among the other trivialities of her cosmetics, “ Here Files of Pins extend their shining Rows,/ Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux. [l. 137-8]” Belinda is discussed as the type of women of eighteenth century fashionable society who lived there lives just for the sake of gilded chariots, pearls and rubies, beautiful dresses, cosmetics, lovers and raising hue and cry over immensely trivial matters. They have no heart or mind for religion, morality, or any other serious discipline of life.

Philip Sidney and Shakespeare’s sonnets: Sir Philip Sidney set the vogue of writing sonnet-sequences, In fact, after Wyatt and Surrey; the sonnet was neglected for a number of years. It was for Sidney to revitalize this form by composing one hundred and eight sonnets, all put in Astrophel and Stella, commemorating his fruitless love for Penelope Deveneux, the daughter of his patron, the Earl of Essex. Sidney wrote the sonnet, not to satisfy the call of the age, but to express his heart-felt love-experience.

Sidney’s sonnets reveal a true lyric emotion. On the one hand, there is in these sonnets much of the conventional material of the Italian sonneteers; but on the other hand there are touches so apt to the situation of a man who loves too late that one hesitates to ascribe them to mere dramatic skill. In Astrophel and Stella, Sidney writes not because it is a pleasant add accomplished thing to do but because he must. His sonnets let out blood. As a sonneteer Sidney is placed next only to Shakespeare and Spenser.

His best written sonnets are : Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show’ ; With how sad steps, 0 Moon, thou climb’st the skies’; ‘Come Sleep, O Sleep, the certain knot of peace’, ‘having this day, my horse, my hand, my lance’ and ‘No, more my dear, no more these counsels try’. Sidney’s sonnets are mostly written in mixed Italian and English forms. Shakespeare has followed the pattern of Surrey in his sonnets. Since he has made a splendid use of this form, it is known after him and not surrey, its real originator.

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