John Donne: Poems

Religious Experiences in Batter My Heart and Love 12th Grade


Throughout Batter My Heart, the speaker is expressing his desire to be made new again and live a life without sin. The sense of unworthiness conveyed in this poem is mirrored in Love, as Herbert creates a speaker who believes himself unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. They both show a man’s dealing with his faith – the struggle that is needed to overcome sin and the necessity of God’s help in doing so.

John Donne creates the impression that the process of forgiveness will not be an easy one, although he is clearly desperate for this transformation. This idea is established from the very beginning of the poem as the irregular meter of “batter my heart” creates the sense of emergency which is developed throughout the rest of the poem, thereby suggesting his desperation as this is clearly something that he believes must happen immediately. This is an idea sustained by the forceful imperatives “knock, breathe, shine”, as well as the alliterative verbs “break, blow, burn”; these further the impression that the speaker has a truly desperate need for transformation, but also that only the most brutal examples of force can achieve this. A similar idea is portrayed in Love, where Herbert creates a sense of unworthiness, and almost...

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