John Donne: Poems

Comparative Essay of Donne and W;t 12th Grade

Existential quandaries remain ingrained within the human condition, where superficial evasions by intellectualizing such concerns are eventually addressed by universal values of humility and compassion within contextual constructs. When confronted by death, the notion of wit postures as a mechanism to disguise insecurities, with mortal suffering allowing the edification to renounce pride and form genuine emotional bonds. Although composed in vastly differing contexts, John Donne’s 17th century metaphysical poems and Margaret Edson’s late 20th century postmodern play W;t, retain significance through examining mortal fears to approach the spiritual processes necessary to gain acceptance of death.

In an attempt to mask the omnipresent fear of mortality, intellectualism allows individuals to gain a sense of control over immutable existential anxieties. Revered during the Age of Discovery, Donne’s employment of wit within his 17th century poetry serves to condone God’s arbitrary judgement, arguing the finality of death to offer solace of the afterlife. Within Death be not Proud, Donne circumvents the capabilities of death through the condescending apostrophe in the metaphysical conceit of sleep, ‘Die not, poor death nor yet canst...

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