Comparing John Donne And John Shakespeare And The Human Exchange

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Throughout the history of mankind, a paradox has existed between two competing interests: the need for independence and the need for connection. Independence, however, is a product of stability and safety from connection. John Donne, an English metaphysical poet, explains how everyone is connected to each other by saying “no man is an island” (35) in his “Meditation 17”. Also, Shakespeare, a contemporary of Donne, wrote “Sonnet XXX” as an expression of how he failed to master the sad memories of his friend. Both Donne and Shakespeare demonstrate that humanity cannot live alone, albeit in different ways, and this idea can be applied to today’s world, which values neoliberalism and self-reliance as important principles. Donne depicts the universal connection of humanity and emphasizes that humans should learn from each other in his “Meditation 17.” During the late Renaissance period, a church bell ringing in the evening signified someone’s death. Hearing the bell ringing from his sickbed, Donne questions for whom the bell is ringing and realizes that humanity is all connected. For example, he specifies that “the church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all” (5-6). Thus, he continues that “because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee” (39-41). Moreover, Donne argues that humans should learn from others, emphasizing the importance of recognizing other’s afflictions by

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