Essay On The Sun Rising

John Donne's The Sun Rising Essay example

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John Donne's The Sun Rising

Critics of John Donne's "The Sun Rising" often note that the poem's displacement of the outside world in favor of two lovers' inner world serves to support its overall theme: the centrality of human love amidst a permanent physical universe. In an essay entitled "John Donne," Achsah Guibbory supports this reading of the poem, stating, "The world of love contains everything of value; it is the only one worth exploring and possessing. Hence the microcosmic world of love becomes larger and more important than the macrocosm" (135). "[T]he lovers' room," Toshihiko Kawasaki observes similarly, "is a microcosm because it is private and self-contained, categorically excluding the outer world" (29). As evident in…show more content…

Hyperbole may lack the power to change the external physical world; still it changes the private world of the lovers, a world of emotion and experience that proves stubbornly resistant to logic, though marvelously—miraculously—open to language. (241)

Indeed, this analysis is valid if readers assume with Baumlin that while the poem's logic operates inadequately, its rhetoric works "miraculously." But, is the persona's reliance on language to transcend the physical world able to succeed? Or, does the language of "The Sun Rising," like the logic, fail to communicate the theme that many scholars have recognized?

The rhetoric of Donne's persona does seem, upon a first reading, to locate the lovers at the center of the universe successfully while it subordinates all surrounding objects. And the poet's use of hyperbole is convincing enough if readers immediately assume that Donne intended to oppose logic and to define the universe's purpose through the transcendent qualities of language. Yet the inconsistencies in rhetoric that the poem manifests, what one scholar has deemed "a tangle of contradictions and reversals," make this commonly accepted interpretation unstable (Brown 110). While Donne's speaker may dislocate the outside world only for the extent of "The Sun Rising," he is still unsuccessful at convincing critical readers that internal love can symbolically replace the

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The Sun Rising Essay

“The Sun Rising”

The 17th century gave birth to a new school of poetry, that was led a
by a brilliant poet, John Donne. John Donne’s unconventional style of
writing and unorthodox ways of expression have inspired great
controversies since then, but at the same time elevated him to a title
not given to many ordinary poets. John Donne is amongst few poets who
have been named metaphysical poets. “The Sun Rising” is a complex
poem, which successfully demonstrates many of the qualities of
metaphysical poetry. The poem conveys the theme that love exists
independently of time and the physical world. When two people find
love together, they often become sufficient in every aspect to one
another, and form a world of their own, which has no need of the
external world. This idea is expressed in the lines of ‘The Sun
Rising’. Throughout the poem, John Donne makes use of literary
features such as hyperbole and tone to develop this theme.

“The Sun Rising” is a lyrical poem that consists of three regular
stanzas, each comprising ten lines. The rhyme scheme is the same in
all three stanzas and follows a regular ABBACDCDEE pattern. While
lines one, five and six are metered in iambic tetrameter, the second
line is dimeter and lines three, four and seven through to ten are
metered in iambic pentameter. Throughout the poem, the speaker
relentlessly tries to convince the sun that the love he shares with
his beloved is the world and that it transcends what anyone else
possesses. Even though the speaker constantly makes references to the
lover, the reader never hears her voice. She is mute. Through the
poem, there are various shifts in the tone, but it remains largely
arrogant and condescending.

Hyperbole is one of the main figures of Donne’s style of writing and
he constructs this poem around a number of hyperbolic claims. In the
first stanza, the speaker declares “Love, all alike, no season knows,
nor clime, / Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.”
(9-10). These lines illustrate the inadequacy and inferiority of the
external world in comparison to the love that the speaker is
experiencing. Unlike the physical world around them, their love is not
restricted by the boundaries imposed by time. In the last line of the
first stanza, “Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.”
(10), Donne makes use caesura, which helps to make the tone of the
poem more serious. Besides using hyperbole, he also uses different
images such as “late schoolboys”, “sour prentices”, “country ants”,
“court-huntsmen” and “king” (6-8) in order to illustrate the different
aspects of the speaker’s life and society. For example while the
“country ants” represent the working people, the “court-huntsmen” and
“king” represent the royalties and their way of life. These images are
used in order to demonstrate that the speaker and his lover are beyond
these earthly, societal concerns.

In the second stanza, the speaker further belittles the sun and
undermines its power by...

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