"Mere wit may amuse, but it serves better purposes when it also conveys feeling", discuss with respect to two or three poems by John Donne.

Essay by Paulos January 2004

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Donne's superb use of wit is evident in all of his poems, yet it may be witnessed in many various contexts such as humorous, melancholy, religious and scientific circumstances. Whilst it is true that many of Donne's poems are humorous, through his use of ambiguity, sexual puns and other means, it is important not to lose sight of his sentiment often conveyed along side the enticing wit. The majority of Donne's poetry involves love, though this isn't just one single unchanging view of love as the body and soul are different and each has the ability to feel 'love' in different manners. Within this essay I shall be looking at how Donne portrays his feelings and emotions using his superb use of wit.

The idea of true love is the combining of body and soul, as mentioned in 'The Extasie', "Soe soule into the soule may flow,/ Though it to body first repaire."

This idea of platonic love only being achieved through physical love is ironic in the respect that two such contrasting ideas are so closely linked. Donne's clever conceits help to make his poems appealing whilst his feeling is expressed simultaneously. The idea of two coming together to form one is very important in Donne's view of love. When a couple find perfect love together they become all-sufficient to one another, forming a world of their own, which has no need of the outside world. This idea is expressed in these lines from The Sunne Rising, "She'is all States, and all Princes, I, / Nothing else is./ Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;/ This bed thy centre is, these walls, thy spheare." However the reference to the bed being the centre of her world and the confines of the bedroom being the edges of...