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John Donne - Startling Imagery And Wit Sample Answer


“John Donne uses startling imagery and wit in his exploration of relationships.”  Give your response to the poetry of John Donne in the light of this statement.  Support your points with the aid of suitable reference to the poems you have studied.

John Donne, I believe, does use startling imagery and wit when exploring relationships. As it is known, Donne had many dramatic and conflicting stages of his life; these were strongly reflected in his writing career. For each episode of his career, he used these techniques to explore many themes. Most notably, Donne concerned himself with the subject of love. Love, in the poetry, is often seen as a multi-faceted concept. Donne does not shy away from all the different facets of love he feels; controversially he spoke explicitly about the physical aspect of love, this was not popular with his contemporary audience.

By using stark imagery Donne shocks and inspires ideas within his readers. As the imagery often contrasts with the subject matter, it can provoke a sense of discontent or unease. As Donne was not very popular in his time, which he was aware of, he did not seem to concern himself with pleasing a broad range of people. Being well connected within the Aristocratic community and at Court, he did not need to push sales of his work. The higher classes, at this time, were the most literate and considered most able to appreciate work such as his.

Wit has always been a great form of displacement within some harsher, more harrowing subject matters. Donne’s jovial approach to some topics may be read by today’s audience as a form of satire. As the only entertainment available to Donne’s community was the theatre much relied on the spoken word. Wit was a strong device used in the theatre to convey certain thoughts and feelings of a writer without been taken too seriously, they always had the scapegoat of jest. Donne uses wit in his poetry in a similar way.

John Donne’s poetry is hailed for a number of reasons; the form and st...

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