Metaphysical Conceit Essay
969 Words4 Pages
Metaphysical Conceita highly ingenious kind of conceit widely used by the metaphysical poets, who explored all areas of knowledge to find, in the startlingly esoteric or the shockingly commonplace, telling and unusual analogies for their ideas. Metaphysical conceits often exploit verbal logic to the point of the grotesque and sometimes achieve such extravagant turns on meaning that they become absurd
(e.g. Richard Crashaw's description of Mary Magdalene's eyes as "Two walking baths; two weeping motions,/Portable and compendious oceans").
These conceits work best when the reader is given a perception of a real but previously unsuspected similarity that is enlightening; then they may speak to our minds and…show more content…
Afterwards the speaker tries to "clear the memory" of the flea and in so doing completely contradicts his former argument by arguing that the flea is totally innocent; then from the flea's innocence he passes to the "harmlessness" of his own designs on the woman. In essence he says she can keep her honour while losing her virtue. 3) Since the conceit is that sex is like a flea-bite; it is relevant to consider beliefs about fleas and those about sex current at the time: a) sex involves the actual mingling of the bloods of the two participants-but this must occur in body of female if procreation is to occur; Donne cleverly evades that aspect by presuming that it does not matter where it occurs; hence he says the flea bites are tantamount to sex already. b) luckily, copulation in fleas is barren
(despite their mingling of blood) because fleas reproduce in a different manner, so if their sex is parallel to that of fleas then there is no fear of pregnancy. Since fleas reproduce by being generated either 1) out of putrefaction in fluids or solids
(Aristotle), or 2) out of dust (pulvis=dust; flea=pulex) via the warming rays of the sun (Pliny), the copulation of fleas is not only barren, it is unnatural. It is clear that the speaker's desire is for sex for delectation rather than for
Metaphysical Conceit in John Donne's The Sun Rising Essay
685 Words3 Pages
Metaphysical Conceit in John Donne's The Sun Rising
Have you ever been in love? Have you ever felt a love so strong that nothing else seemed to matter? I hope that you have, but if you haven't, John Donne's poem, "The Sun Rising", gives a revealing glimpse into the emotional roller coaster that is true love. In the poem, Donne uses what is called a "metaphysical conceit" to emphasize the strength of the devotion between him and his lover. A metaphysical conceit is a metaphor extended to extreme, almost absurd lengths, so it makes sense for it to be used to describe intense feelings such as the devotion of two lovers. This definitely applies here, for in the mind of the narrator, he and his lover are the entire world, and the…show more content…
Upon looking at her, full of pride and bravado, he says to the sun, "If her eyes have not blinded thine. Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, Whether both th'Indias of spice and mine Be where thou lef'st them, or lie here with me." (Lines 15-18).
At the time this poem was written, colonialism and world trade were just getting into full swing, so it would have been quite a complement to be compared to the East or West Indies. Both were highly regarded and valued for their spices and gold, respectively. He keeps piling on the praise, though, extending his "we are the world" metaphor by comparing themselves to all the kings in the world. He tells the sun "all here in one bed lay" (line 20). As the poem progresses, his comparisons become more grandiose as he heaps more and more complements on the two of them. It is in the third stanza that Donne truly states the theme of the metaphor. It is also where he stretches the metaphor to its farthest lengths. He begins by stating his most blunt argument: "She is all states, and all princes, I, Nothing else is." (Lines 21-22)
Although slightly chauvinistic by today's standards, his words are strong and to the point, telling us plainly that she is the inhabited world and he, it's ruler. You might think that this relates the idea