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Religious Poetry of Donne and Milton

Donne takes the ornate style of Renaissance poetry to extremes in his use of radical comparisons and opposing and unexpected imagery and symbolism. Choose one of the poems on our reading list (“The Good Morrow,” “The Flea,” Holy Sonnets: 5, 10, 14) and respond to these three prompts:

1. Discuss the speaker’s tone and attitude to the subject matter as it develops over the course of the poem.

2. Select one specific line to quote and analyze. Describe the meaning and poetic devices of this line (imagery, metaphor, personification, allusion, etc.) See the list of devices. Is the imagery in this line seem unusual or extreme? If so, how?

3. In what ways is Donne’s poem expressing human identity? In what ways does it express spiritual identity?

II. Paradise Lost is the early modern Christian Protestant epic.

1. Using at least two characteristics of the epic (as stated in my Powerpoint presentation on the 17th century) explain how Book 1 establish Paradise Lost firmly in the epic genre and tradition. For example, you might discuss how Book 1 puts forth the values of a culture? What other characteristics of the epic does Book 1 follow? Site at least two specific examples from the text. (At least one of the examples should not be from the beginning).

2. In the context of Paradise Lost Book 1, do you find Satan to be a hero, a villain, or an anti-hero? (See Hero handout). Use specifics actions or events from the text to back up your claim.

3. Do you find Book 1 difficult, or not, and why?