Holy Sonnet 6

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  • Holy Sonnet 6
    • Structure
      • Subverts traditional petrarchan structure of a sonnet and puts seset followed by octave. Also subverts traditional subject matter of a sonnet (death)
        • First part; vivid imagery, high emotion, theatrical rhetoric. Second; intellectual clarity, humble and self aware
      • frequent punctuation slows pace. perhaps he's trying to slow down the inevitable
      • repetition of 'my.... last' builds a rhythm and drama.
      • Syntax 'and would press me, to hel' the comma draws attention to hell exaggerating it as something evil.
      • Monosyllables at ends of lines adds aggresive tone 'me be must go'
    • Imagery
      • Rapid change in imagery (lines 1-4) = fascination or frenzy/ intense fear? seeks to control though vivid/ familiar images. Or are these images dramatic and serious?
        • 'Play's last scene' - life is an act controlled/ or dramatic (metaphysical quality). 'Pilgrimages last mile' - search for religion coming to end. 'Spans last inch' and 'mile' imply journeys.
      • 'gluttonous death' is predatory= fear of predator. Other violent connotations; 'instantly unjoint'. Harsh syllables of 'unjoint'
        • 'fear' 'shake' = violent. connotations of death or the devil.
      • 'That face' is ambiguous; god, death - ambiguity enriches hidden meaning of poem
    • Techniques
      • Oxymoron/ paradox; 'idly yet quickly run' = unsure/ fear
      • Personifies soul 'her first seat takes flight. Elizabethan tradition. Gives spirit softer, innocent and pure qualities
      • 'Fall my sins' and 'as my soul' show a confidence in the poet. It could also be the fall of his enemies portraying the speaker as a soldier conquering sins
      • Power of 3 'world, flesh, devil' adds drama to final line, commas slow pace and exaggerate more
      • Dramata finish 'for thus I leave' has theatrical connotations.Self regarding? Or confident?
    • AO4
      • In his sermons Donne explored death and judgement.
      • Neoplatonism; 'body and soul' placed next to each other suggesting they do depend on each other. However 'ever-waking part' shows that soul is more poweful and lives on.
        • "earthborn body' given less impressive descriptions than soul; 'dwell' connotations of evil and witchcraft.
      • 'impute me righteousness' is anglican belief that adams original sin went to all. Salvation only possible if jesus died on cross for mankind. Done begs for salvation


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