John Donne From A Feminist Perspective English Literature Essay

John Donne From A Feminist Perspective English Literature Essay

The ground feminism exists is fundamentally because of the marginalisation of adult females. Feminists believe that the society is patriarchal and work forces have all the power in manus. Feminists argue that power imbalances the gender.

The incorrect attitude of western civilization constitutes Donne ‘s authorship. There is a battle between maleness and muliebrity. The masculine attempts to bury the evidences of feminine. That is why there are many illustrations of same sex love in his poesy. ( Meakin 47 )

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Gender affairs for Donne. He has written about adult females and gender functions both straight and through metaphors. The adult females in his verse forms are ‘shadowy figures ‘ , ‘object or contemplation of male desire ‘ , and ‘a metaphor for the poet ‘s aspirations ‘ because Donne does non speak about their physical visual aspects. ( Bell 201 )

A displacement of attitude towards adult females is seen in Donne. The masculine thrust to rule is one major subject in Donne ‘s poesy. There is an anxiousness about adult females authorization in some of his laments. Another position is seen in Donne ‘s work which is that of his feelings for his married woman Anne More Donne. She is the lone adult female he loved. Donne ‘s love poesy shows an fond regard to her and this is contradictory to his old positions on the female topic.

Donne underwent a transition from Catholicism to Protestantism and he accepted the remotion of the feminine from Godhead theoretical accounts and the demotion of Virgin Mary. Feminism can non be applied to all plants of Donne. Misogyny is seen in some of his verse form. The impression of feminism is clear in his lesser known prose and poesy.

Donne is faced by a crisis of definition of adult females like his coevalss. At the clip ( seventeenth century ) adult females were denied their voice and could merely state the vocalization of others. They had no map but to bear kids ( Meakin ) . Donne ‘s poesy makes a nexus between female subjectiveness and metaphysical manner ; besides he uses feminism to land selfhood.

This paper will analyse a few verse forms of Donne sing the impression of feminism and Donne ‘s displacement of attitude towards adult females.

Many of the Songs and Sonnets and Elegies belittle adult females demoing them as ugly, inconstant and fallacious. “ Hope non for minde in adult females ” ( “ Loves Alchemy ” ) is a good illustration. Most of the verse forms entertain, converse with a kept woman and even score the kept woman. In the verse form “ The Dreame ” the talker is enticing the adult female:

. . .

Thou art so true that ideas of thee suffice

To do dreams truths, and fabrications histories ;

Enter these weaponries, for since 1000 thought’st it best,

Not to woolgather all my dreams, allow ‘s move the rest.. . . . ( Donne 111 )

His other verse forms praise adult females for the rational and emotional verve. A good illustration would be “ All my soules bee, /Emparadis ‘d in you ” ( A Valediction of my name, in the window ” ) .

Satire III shows Donne ‘s clearest attitude towards adult females. The verse form “ asserts that happening the one true kept woman is vitally and undeniably of import ” and “ that it is stupid and morally incorrect to generalise about all adult females on the footing of peculiar adult females ” ( Bell 205 ) . The undermentioned line from the verse form satirizes Phrygius for detesting adult females because they can non wholly be good and later satirizes Graccus for neglecting to do a differentiation among adult females:

. . .

Careless Phrygius doth abhor

All, because all can non be good, as one

Knowing some adult females prostitutes, darings marry none.

. . .

Graccus loves wholly as one, and thinks that so

As adult females do in frogman states go

In frogman wonts, yet are still one sort. . . . ( Donne 29 )

Some of the Elegies show a disgust and hatred towards the female organic structure. Some others show a sexual pleasance that includes its ain rational joy. “ The Comparison ” makes a differentiation between one peculiar adult female with another adult female. They both have the female organic structure but the friend chooses the adult female merely for sex. The verse form surveies the subjectiveness of desire. The difference of attitudes which makes one adult male ‘s desire another adult male ‘s disgust. ( Bell 207 )

In the long lament 13, “ Loves Progress ” , Donne argues that the right love is sexual ingestion and he states that work forces more likely step a adult female harmonizing to her beauty and money. He himself believes that the sexual portion makes a adult female, adult female. The undermentioned lines are taken from the verse form:

. . .

Can work forces more injure adult females so to state

They love them for that, by which they ‘re non they?

Makes virtuousness adult female? Must I cool my blood

Till I both be, and happen one adult female wise and good?

May waste Angels love so. But if we

Make love to adult female ; virtuousness is non she:

As beauty ‘ is non nor wealth. . . ( Donne 60 )

Donne rejects the thoughts in petrarchan sonnets that relates female award with celibacy and subordinates the married woman to the hubby. Donne in his Elegies persuades adult females ‘s sexual freedom and inquiries the patriarchal control of work forces ( hubbies and male parents ) on adult females.

Donne ‘s Verse Letters shows that ‘gender kineticss ‘ were cardinal to Donne from the beginning. “ These early verse form show Donne constructing the foundation of his ‘house of linguistic communication ‘ with, exactly, the feminine as edifice stuff ” ( Meakin 25 ) . The work is consisted of letters exchanged with male friends.

“ A Valediction: Forbiding Morning ” has the thought of patriarchal society. This is non uneven because the verse form was written in the seventeenth century which was a clip of male laterality in civilization and society. The verse form is about the patriarchal state of affairs of the clip. The verse form starts by saying how work forces are of import in society and how they have the first place in comparing to adult females who have the 2nd place. Later it is stated that work forces are more rational than adult females. The line “ No teare-floods, nor sigh-tempests move, . . . ” ( Donne 120 ) emphasizes that work forces do non confront their jobs by cryings. In the last portion of the verse form it is stated that adult females have o stay at place when they get married but work forces can make whatever they want.

“ Sapho to Philaenis ” is considered a sapphic love verse form. It shows a sapphic desire. Here Donne speaks in the voice of a adult female. Sapho is the Grecian poet who has written many sapphic love poesy. Sapho sends a missive to carry her to come back. She praises Philaenis beauty and tells her that their adult female to adult female love is higher than a love between a adult female and a adult male so she asks her to reconstruct what they had:

O remedy this loving lunacy, and reconstruct

Maine to me ; thee, my half, my all, my more.

The verse form is the first female homosexual verse form in English.

There are some verse forms which do non do the genders of the storyteller and the individual being addressed explicit. “ The Flea ” is a good case. There are a figure of verse forms that revolves around all-male relationships. They show a masculine kind of universe, even though some times the storyteller is a adult female.

In the verse form “ Aire and Angels ” , the individual being addressed is assumed to be a adult female, but as the statement is developed, particularly the last lines of the verse form, a contradiction rises. But if one considers the storyteller a adult male, so it will do perfect sense. The verse form starts with the undermentioned lines:

Merely such dispartie

As is twixt Aire and Angells pureness

‘Twixt adult females love, and work forces will of all time bee. ( Donne 22 )

The storyteller ‘s beloved is being compared to an angel which in scriptural tradition is male and is told that male love is more religious than adult females love.

The verse form “ Anniversarie ” depicts a heterosexual convention. It is the day of remembrance of two male lovers who love frontward to turning old together. Unlike the neo Platonists Donne unites the lovers and brings them back to Earth.

The contradiction of Donne ‘s attitude is shown in his verse form. There were many verse forms in which he dispraised adult females as discussed above, nevertheless there are a figure of verse forms that Donne praises adult females. “ The Extasie ” is a good illustration. It is one his celebrated love verse forms.

One can non come to a definite decision sing Donne ‘s attitude towards adult females. His mentality is really complicated. He shocks the reader with his alteration of attitudes. Depending on which poem one chooses to construe it would be possible to see him as a woman hater or as a lover of adult females.

Readers and critics can take to disregard the adult females in Donne ‘s verse forms, concentrating alternatively on Donne ‘s soul-searching or ego devising. They can allegorise the adult females, turning her into a metaphor for Donne ‘s professional promotion, or they can exteriorize her, turning her into a sex object to be circulated among Donne ‘s simpering male clique. ( Bell 214 )

As discussed though out this paper, a great figure of Donne ‘s verse forms were about work forces and adult females and the dealingss between them and their societal functions, some admitted the subordination of adult females to work forces, other verse form showed another thought that sex differences are non natural and are societal buildings and they can be changed. It is the state of affairs of Donne ‘s clip that shapes Donne thoughts on what to compose about adult females.

Therefore all the readings are possible.

Woks Cited

Bell, Ilona. “ Gender affairs: the adult females in Donne ‘s verse form. “ The Cambridge Companion to John Donne. Ed. Achsah Guibbory. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.

Donne, John. John Donne: The Major Works. Ed. John Carey. Oxford: Oxford UP,1990.

Guerin Wilfred, et Al. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature.New York: Oxford UP, 2005.

Hodgson, Elizabeth M.A. Gender and the Sacred ego in John Donne. Newark and London: University of Delaware, 1999.

Meakin, H.L. John Donne ‘s Articulation of the Feminine. New York: Oxford UP, 1998.


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