Early Modern Poetry Analysis

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For this essay I have chosen one of the themes I consider to be of most importance in the Early Modern period, the way in which poets used literary writings as a way of airing the religious anxieties of the epoch. Bible at that moment is where people look at for organising their society but it is also where poets of this time look at for inspiration. After the Reformation, a tension between the Catholic and the Protestant church begins to show up, and a sense of anxiety appeared within protestant people. Besides, there is a strong emphasis on self-scrutiny, a close examination to the relationship between the individual and God becomes important for people at this time. This is the case of two of the poets of this period, John Donne and George Herbert. In these two authors, we see how Early Modern poetry is directly united with the religious concerns of the poet. The…show more content…
Thus, the sense of spiritual anxiety is clear: “The note of anguish is unmistakable. The image of a soul in meditation which the ´Holy Sonnets´ present is an image of a soul working out its salvation in fear and trembling” (Helen Gardner “The Religious poetry of John Donne”, Clements, 284). The speaker thinks he does not deserve his salvation because he has betrayed God, but the way in which he is asking for it, it is not calmed, but with violence and desperate, since he is asking God to hit him. Besides, he says “But am betroth´d unto your enemie” (line 10). That enemy could be Satan, and if he has betrayed unto him, it means that he had committed some sin. Hence, the only way of being forgiven and getting his salvation is if God batters his heart. He asks God not to convalesce him but to “break” and “burn” him (line 4) as the only way of making him new and chaste again. That way, by battering his heart, the speaker thinks that God will make him deserving of standing before him

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