Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"The Funeral," by John Donne

Vanessa & Amanda

The Funeral By John Donne

The author of The Funeral was religious man who was born in the year of 1572 in London. He was a poet who wrote many renowned sonnets, and being somewhat of an outsider, was never censored in what he wrote. However, when England made a shift to anti-roman sentiment, Catholics and their church were persecution and harassment. Around the 1590’s John converted to the English church because he could no longer tolerate the strict Catholic Church and the issues that surrounded it. He later became an ordained minister of the Church of England and was very successful.

Words we need to know!
1. Viceroy: a governor of a country or province who rules as the representative of his or her king or sovereign.
2. Manacled: to be chained at the wrists of hips.
3. Dissolution: the termination of a meeting or relationship.
4. Sinewy: Possessing physical strength and weight
5. Relics: ceremony at which a dead person is buried or cremated.

Questions for thought!
1. How is John Donne’s past reflected in his poetry.
2. Is this “mistress” metaphysical manifestation for Johns love of Poetry or literally his mistress?
3. What is the significance of the title?
4. What is the undertone of this poem, meaning is this a depressing poem or perhaps an uplifting one.
5. How does this poem reflect John’s opinion of himself?

Summary & Analysis
The poem begins with the narrator advising those who come to see his literal dead body to not question or touch the “subtle wreath of hair which crowns his arm”, because it is his outward soul. He talks about ascending towards heaven because he is a “Viceroy to that” meaning that he was always a servant of god. He will go to heaven and god will do what he pleases to do with him, while his provinces, the activities he achieved on earth, will remain on earth. In the next stanza he talks about his literal death in comparison to the greater idea that the poem addresses which is the idea of his eternal being. He will last forever by word of poetry. So in other words this poem in our oppion is similar to many lover he has composed, only this love is poetry.

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