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Holy Sonnet IX

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by

Maria Ribera

on 29 April 2013

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Transcript of Holy Sonnet IX

Introductory Questions:
Do you believe your sins are forgiven and forgotten or forgiven and not forgotten?
Do you believe the human race is still paying for Eve's sin of eating the forbidden fruit?
Is there a correlation between biblical belief and that of Greek Mytholgy? Background Information:
John Donne was born in 1572 in England and was known as a Metaphysical poet. He was known for being able to startle the reader through his knowledge of religion and turning it into an extended metaphor. Donne lived during the time of the Protestant Massacre which helped influence many of his writings. Born into a Catholic Family, Donne became very passionate about religion.
Adam and Eve were the creations of God which brought sin into the world by going against His will and eating the forbidden fruit after being tempted by a serpent which was Satan. This sonnet begins with anger towards God for the temptations of the world and ending begging for his forgiveness. Holy Sonnet IX By: John Donne Annotations "If poisonous minerals, and if that tree, Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us,..." Allusion to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit "serpents" Represents Satan and thus the temptation of sin. "Lethean flood" A river in Hades that causes one to forget the past. *Poem as a whole utilizes Bible and mythology references "why" & "should" Multiple uses of these words depict the speakers struggle and doubtfulness with his faith in God. The poem is the speaker's prayer to God resenting his sinful nature, thus asking for His forgiveness. If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
Whose fruit threw death on (else immortal) us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot be damn'd, alas ! why should I be ?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, equal, in me more heinous?
And, mercy being easy, and glorious
To god, in His stern wrath why threatens He ?
But who am I, that dare dispute with Thee ?
O God, O ! of Thine only worthy blood,
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown in it my sin's black memory.
That Thou remember them, some claim as debt ;
I think it mercy if Though wilt forget. Holy Sonnet IX
By: John Donne Speaker: A religious man who has committed a dark sin and is asking for forgiveness from God

Tone: The speaker has a passionate tone throughout the entire sonnet. At the beginning his tone is more apprehensive and spiteful as he questions who God really is and if he can even be the one to judge his sins. Then after the shift, he adopts a more apologetic and sincere tone as he expresses his desire for forgiveness.

Diction: Powerful and hyperbolic diction.
"Heinous" in Line 6.
"Lecherous goats" in Line 3.

Shifts: Shift come after line 9 where the speaker finally accepts that God will have to judge him for his sins.

Imagery: "make it a heavenly Lethean flood, and drown in it my sin's black memory..." The speaker casts a powerful image of the river washing away the sins of people, and the contrast between the underworld and heaven in apparent in this line Theme The central theme of the poem is redemption. At the beginning the speaker has obviously committed some sort of sin of considerable magnitude, and tries to justify himself by questioning the fairness of God's punishments, As he tries to argue that God cannot be the only one with the power to forgive people, he becomes apprehensive about who to ask for forgiveness. If not God, then who? Once he finally accepts that a punishment is necessary, he realized the only way to resolve his situation would be to ask for mercy and fight for redemption. AP Question Read the following poem carefully. Then analyze how the author alludes to the bible to develop a central theme throughout the poem.
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