While John Donnes poetry implements unifying stylistic elements, it also spans a number of diverse genres, including sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. With specific reference to the Flea, Sun Rising,the Anniversary, the Indifferent, Song, Batter My Heart, Death be not Proud, and Oh my Black Soul, this essay examines the main themes of Donnes poetry and the predominant stylistic elements he utilizes to convey them.
One of the central thematic elements John Donnes poetry explores is that of love. One of Donnes brilliantly clever works in these regards in his poem The Flea. This work advances the theme of love in a number of well structured ways. The prevailing tone of the poem is whimsical, as the narrator implements the metaphorical conceit in drawing a connection between blood in a flea that has bitten himself and his woman of interest and a sense of romantic connection. For instance, Donne states, “O stay, three lives in one flea spare,/ Where we almost, yea, more than married are” (Donne, 2004). In some regards, its clear the Donne is utilizing a great deal of hyperbole in this comparison, as the connection between the flea and romantic love is slightly humorous; however, characteristic of Donne, the love theme is advanced with great wit.
Similar in theme to the Flea is Donnes seminal metaphysical love poem The Sun Rising. In this work one finds many of the stylistic elements that are characteristic of Donnes working, including masterful use of hyperbole and wit. Notably, while Shakespeare, a contemporary of Donnes, structured his love sonnets toward another individual, in The Sun Rising Donne focuses his attention more on the nature of love. The main hyperbolic device utilized in this poem is the narrators envisionment of the sun as a consciously aware entity. In these regards, the speaker calls out to the sun, asking why it