Essay Metaphysical Conceit

Metaphysical Conceit in John Donne's The Sun Rising Essay

685 Words3 Pages

Metaphysical Conceit in John Donne's The Sun Rising

Have you ever been in love? Have you ever felt a love so strong that nothing else seemed to matter? I hope that you have, but if you haven't, John Donne's poem, "The Sun Rising", gives a revealing glimpse into the emotional roller coaster that is true love. In the poem, Donne uses what is called a "metaphysical conceit" to emphasize the strength of the devotion between him and his lover. A metaphysical conceit is a metaphor extended to extreme, almost absurd lengths, so it makes sense for it to be used to describe intense feelings such as the devotion of two lovers. This definitely applies here, for in the mind of the narrator, he and his lover are the entire world, and the…show more content…

Upon looking at her, full of pride and bravado, he says to the sun, "If her eyes have not blinded thine. Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, Whether both th'Indias of spice and mine Be where thou lef'st them, or lie here with me." (Lines 15-18).
At the time this poem was written, colonialism and world trade were just getting into full swing, so it would have been quite a complement to be compared to the East or West Indies. Both were highly regarded and valued for their spices and gold, respectively. He keeps piling on the praise, though, extending his "we are the world" metaphor by comparing themselves to all the kings in the world. He tells the sun "all here in one bed lay" (line 20). As the poem progresses, his comparisons become more grandiose as he heaps more and more complements on the two of them. It is in the third stanza that Donne truly states the theme of the metaphor. It is also where he stretches the metaphor to its farthest lengths. He begins by stating his most blunt argument: "She is all states, and all princes, I, Nothing else is." (Lines 21-22)
Although slightly chauvinistic by today's standards, his words are strong and to the point, telling us plainly that she is the inhabited world and he, it's ruler. You might think that this relates the idea

Show More

Metaphysical Conceit Essay

Metaphysical Conceit

Metaphysical Conceita highly ingenious kind of conceit widely used
by the metaphysical poets, who explored all areas of knowledge to
find, in the startlingly esoteric or the shockingly commonplace,
telling and unusual analogies for their ideas. Metaphysical conceits
often exploit verbal logic to the point of the grotesque and sometimes
achieve such extravagant turns on meaning that they become absurd
(e.g. Richard Crashaw's description of Mary Magdalene's eyes as "Two
walking baths; two weeping motions,/Portable and compendious oceans").

These conceits work best when the reader is given a perception of a
real but previously unsuspected similarity that is enlightening; then
they may speak to our minds and emotions with force. Examples of
potential metaphysical conceits->love is like an oil change; love is
like a postage stamp; love is like a pair of compasses; the soul of a
sinner is like a damaged pot. As you can see, the temptation to be
merely clever must be hard to resist, while the difficulty in making
such a conceit truly effective is quite considerable.

The Flea

1. Background: Étienne Pasquier and Catherine Desroches, 1579.
Pseudo-Ovidian flea poems in which the lover wishes to become a flea
in order to gain enhanced access to the beloved's charms; theme is
often bestialization of the lover by his own passion.

2. Plot is simple: a) speaker points to a flea that has jumped from
him to the woman and bites both; b) she has hunted down and caught the
flea; speaker tries to dissuade her from killing it; c) she disregards
his pleas and kills it. N.B. all the action occurs between the
stanzas. Elaboration: he has argued that their being bitten by the
flea is tantamount to having had sex without even touching each other
so that they might as well go all the way. She kills the flea, it
seems, to vindicate the moral law the speaker puts in question by his
argument about the flea bite-in essence she kills an offender against
her chastity. Afterwards the speaker tries to "clear the memory" of
the flea and in so doing completely contradicts his former argument by
arguing that the flea is totally innocent; then from the flea's
innocence he passes to the "harmlessness" of his own designs on the
woman. In essence he says she can keep her honour while losing her

3) Since the conceit is that sex is like a flea-bite; it is relevant
to consider beliefs about fleas and those about sex current at the
time: a) sex involves the actual mingling of the bloods of the two
participants-but this must occur in body of female if procreation is
to occur; Donne cleverly evades that aspect by presuming that it does
not matter where it occurs; hence he says the flea bites are
tantamount to sex already. b) luckily, copulation in fleas is barren
(despite their mingling of...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Metaphysical Poets: Richard Crashaw Essay

1451 words - 6 pages Metaphysical Poets:Richard CrashawSeventeenth-century Britain gave birth to a group of poets who, because of the use of witty, unusual or far-fetched comparisons in their poems, came to be known as Metaphysical...

John Donne: An Influential English Poet

1257 words - 5 pages John Donne, one of the greatest English poets and preachers of the 1600’s, greatly impacted the writing field through his works. In the first half of 1572 (actual date is unknown) he was born in London to John Donne, a merchant, and Elizabeth Heywood Donne, the daughter of the poet and playwright John Heywood. His father died when Donne was about four years old. His younger brother, Henry, also died in John Donne’s early life. John Donne was...

George Herbert's poems: Love I and Love II.

1182 words - 5 pages George Herbert (1593-1633) was one of the major English metaphysical poets. He was born in Wales and was educated at Cambridge. He was an English clergyman and has become famous for his distinctive religious poetry. Herbert, who was greatly influenced by the work of John Donne, another...

The Bold Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne

2276 words - 9 pages The Bold Metaphysical Poetry of John Donne In the seventeenth century, John Donne's writing was considered extreme. His style became known as metaphysical, a name given to such poets by critics. The term metaphysical is a word used to define something that is based on human reasoning. The Metaphysicals combined mind and intellect with emotion and nature, and they were accused of writing revolutionary poems just to display their learning....

Analysis of John Donne's Poem, The Flea

1433 words - 6 pages The Flea John Donne’s poems are similar in their content. They usually point out at same topics like love, lust, sex and religion; only they are dissimilar in the feelings they express. These subjects reflect the different stages of his life: the lust of his youth, the love of his married middle age, and the piety of the latter part of his life. His poem,’ The Flea’ represents the restless feeling of lust during his youthful days but it comes...

Metaphysical poetry and the Concept of 'Carpe Diem'- Donne's "To His Mistress Going to Bed" and Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress"

998 words - 4 pages The metaphysical poets believed in seizing the day. Discuss with reference to two poemsIn defiance of, and in gesture of confrontation to, a conservative, paternalistic, and religious world, the metaphysical poets John Donne and Andrew Marvell present a new mode of thinking; one not governed by the hope of heaven, but by faith in the flesh. The poetry highlights and reinforces the spontaneity of lust while underscoring...

In John Donne's poetry, the craft of poetry, sex and religion are intertwined. Discuss with reference to three of Donne's poems.

2290 words - 9 pages Born into the Christian religion of Catholicism, John Donne converted to Anglicanism in midlife and as a result; it is unsurprising to find that a large amount of his poetry is devoted to religion and his relationship with god. However, upon examination of his works, we can discern that his relationship with God is intertwined with his relationships, both real and desired, with sex . To begin to examine Donne's works, we must first unpack his...

Comparing Philosophies of Donne's To His Mistress and Herrick's Corrina Going A-Maying

1387 words - 6 pages Comparing Philosophies of Donne's To His Mistress and Herrick's Corrina Going A-Maying   The seventeenth century in England produced two varying schools of poetic philosophy which included the metaphysical and the cavalier. While the metaphysical poets, comprised of the artists who followed John Donne's use of the metaphysical conceit, tended to reinforce the traditional forms of love and devotion, the cavalier poets, led by Ben Johnson,...

William Wordsworth's Nutting

1404 words - 6 pages William Wordsworth's Nutting   If William Wordsworth rests on the throne as the King of the Romantic Period, Nutting is a shining exemple of why he should be put on a pedestal.  Flirting with the five senses, he seduces the reader into the beautiful backdrop of his lyrical ballad with an extravagant description of the natural setting.  Ignoring the conventional devices of figurative language, such as metaphor, Wordsworth manipulates...

Poetry must not stray too far from the ordinary everyday language which we use and hear' (T.S. Eliot). Discuss this statement

1551 words - 6 pages Poetry must not stray too far from the ordinary everyday language which we useand hear' (T.S. Eliot). Discuss this statement in relation to ONE OR MORE poetsstudied on the moduleThe Metaphysical poetry of the seventeenth century is known for...

Use of Color in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage

1667 words - 7 pages Use of Color in Crane's The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage uses both color imagery and color symbols. While Crane uses color to describe, he also allows it to stand for whole concepts. Gray, for example, describes the both the literal image of a dead soldier and Henry Fleming's vision of the sleeping soldiers as corpses and comes to stand for the idea of death. In the same way, red describes both the soldiers' physical wounds...

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Essay Metaphysical Conceit”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *