John Donne: Poems

Analysis of Donne's Holy Sonnet 7

John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 7 is a poem that intertwines elements of allusions and wit to arouse emotions and to depict the dramatic conflict between holiness and sin. By specifically analyzing the rhyme scheme, the allusions, the tone, and the specific language and word choices apparent in Sonnet 7, it is apparent that the poet is delineating the transformation from overwhelming guilt to earnest desire of faithfulness. Although this poem concludes with a sense of hopefulness, this sonnet is only a microcosm of the Christian life with God. Through the collection of the Holy Sonnets, Donne ultimately reveals the speaker’s obsession with his own death and his great fear of eternal damnation.

Sonnet 7 is one that encompasses the depravity and failure of humanity to convey a struggle of internal fear and guilt, but at the same time, it shows awareness of God’s redemptive power. Donne utilizes a structure that is divided into distinct sections. Following a similar pattern to that of the Italian sonnet, the first eight lines have a rhyme scheme abbaabba. The speaker’s abhorrence for himself is deeply intensified as the aggressive imageries predominate the first eight lines. Donne starts the poem with “Spit in my face ye Jews, and...

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