John Donne And Shakespeare

A comparison of “Holy Sonnet XIV” by John Donne and “Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare
John Donne and William Shakespeare both wrote a variety of poems that are both similar within the structure of a Sonnet but with very different content. This essay will compare two of their sonnets – Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare and the Holy Sonnet by John Donne.
John Donne’s poem is a personal sonnet in which John Donne questions his faith in God. It becomes clear from the sonnet that John Donne feels that he has been tempted to sinful behavior by the Devil, Gods “enemy”. John Donne is asking God to restore his faith to an unquestioning level, either by force or proving his power to him so that ...

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as he is trying to get people to see his point of view. This is that the conventional blazon of the love sonnet is inaccurate and either ridiculous or impossible.

The language used for each sonnet is both different and surprising. In Shakespeare’s sonnet the language is interesting because in a love sonnet the reader does not expect language like “black wires grow on her head’ or “her breasts are dun”. Shakespeare uses this language to ridicule the descriptions in other love sonnets. For example, he makes us think how unnatural it would be to have lips the colour of coral. By using harsh descriptions Shakespeare also manages to show his love for his mistress just as effectively as if he had written a conventional love sonnet. He tells us that even if his mistresses’ breath did “reek” he would love her anyway.

The language John Donne uses is also surprising although it is slightly less obvious than the Shakespearean sonnet. Even though he appears to address God, Donne uses ...

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of the sonnet. For example, today we would use the word “reeks” as an uncomplimentary description of a bad smell. When Shakespeare uses the word “reeks” to describe his mistress’s breath he is simply saying that her breath smells, not that it smells unpleasant.

It could be said that John Donne’s sonnet is more personal than Shakespeare’s sonnet as it is addressing a feeling that is probably felt only by him. Shakespeare is giving his views on love, a feeling that is known throughout the world. Although Shakespeare’s views of the love sonnet are controversial many people would have been able to relate to them. Donne’s sonnet would have been harder for the fifteenth century audience ...

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John Donne And Shakespeare. (2005, December 28). Retrieved March 29, 2020, from
"John Donne And Shakespeare.", 28 Dec. 2005. Web. 29 Mar. 2020. <>
"John Donne And Shakespeare." December 28, 2005. Accessed March 29, 2020.
"John Donne And Shakespeare." December 28, 2005. Accessed March 29, 2020.
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Added: 12/28/2005 02:29:07 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1723
Pages: 7

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