Analysis of Meditation IV by John Donne

Essay by lam13College, UndergraduateB+, April 2008

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The opening statement of John Donne’s Meditation IV sets a disposition for the whole article. “..Except God, Man is a diminutive to nothing” (Donne 23) is saying man is bigger than the world; excluding the fact that God conquers and controls all. Man is in control of his own life, but God controls his fate. It is also stating that the world is nothing in comparison to man and is not as complex. Donne’s numerous comparisons between human anatomy and nature shows how man’s complexity overcomes the world and is therefore considered bigger than it. Man’s veins are used in comparison to simple rivers and muscles to hills to justify his complexity over the world. This analogy is used to show just how closely related humans are to nature, yet still closer in comparison and controlled by God. God is the puppet master of all, and “…has fixed the order of nature” (Aquinas 79) .

He has made man the only species with direct connection to Him. The Lord says, “The works that I do, he also shall do, and greater than these shall he do” (87).

Donne continues his comparison by stating “…as the whole world hath nothing, to which something in man doth not answere, so hath man many pieces, of which the whole world hath no representation” (Donne 23). This means that man can relate to anything in the world, but the world does not have the capacity to do the same. He goes on to state that even though God’s creatures are everywhere, not just in the sea, and are born giants physically in comparison to humans, their mental competence is nothing in contrast to man. Donne states that God’s creatures reach everywhere; land and sea, Earth to Heaven, but his thoughts are comprehended by...