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The Canonization 

(Love, society, acceptance, imagery, contradictions, opposition, world...) 

  • “For god's sake, hold your tongue”– opening imperative implies loss of patience and stress, immediately engaged in the conflict and speakers train of thought.  

  • “Who is injur'd by thy love?”, “What ships...have my sighs drowned?” Presents their love as harmless to the outside world; it doesn't affect the flow of normal life. Interrogational rhetorical questions. Yet this is contradicted by... 

  • ruin'd fortunes” - Ironic, as love is presented as harmless - it reflects Donne's life (see context).  

  • “Sighs”, “colds”, “tears”, “heats  - external effects of the sufferings of the Petrarchan lover, thus Donne is mocking such poetry, aiming instead for an expression of genuine love, not subjected to cliched hyperbole.  

  • own cost die”, “phoenix”  Love is perhaps consuming (a moth to a flame, as well as a self-consuming candle) yet also resurrecting, religious connotations – love is uplifting, beyond reality. Mythical status.  Some critics argue that they are revitalised after sexual indulgence, thus treating physical love like divine love. Complex imagery. For all its complexity, one aspect of the poem that does not challenge the reader’s understanding is depth of Donne’s devotion and love – poem is deeply complex but ultimately communicates a simple idea. Pheonix amplifies the joining of lovers into one (see context). 

  • “eagle and the dove” symbols of strength and gentleness, masculine and feminine – yet this is a contradictory image, since the two birds represent aggression and peace –


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