Purify my heart for I have sinned: An Irony In John Donnes Batter my heart, three-personed God; for You, the moral and religious qualms of the speaker are manifest in a sonnet which seems at first almost like an avowal between lovers. These convictions of guilt, which stem from his sexual emotion, are what induce desire for a creator/creation relationship with God. With further analysis, the violent and sexual slant on the relationship is also revealed. The first expression provides the reader with an initial framework for the mood of the poem. Donne says, Batter my heart, (1) This opening word is the first of an upcoming myriad of terms of violence. The impression given is that the speaker is either a vulnerable and/or masochistic person. However, it becomes evident in the lines ensueing that the speaker is somewhat disconcerted. Batter my heart, three-personed God; for You As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise and stand, oerthrow me, and bend Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new. (1-4) In lines 1 and 3, he is asking God for torment, to be overcome. In lines 2 and 4, he is requesting to be fixed, mended, made new. The speaker is vascillating between the two; he seems indecisive. The verbs in lines 2 and 4 oddly parallel eachother. They are thematically similar; complementing, but at the same time contradicting. Knock corresponds to break, as breathe does to blow, and so on. Nonetheless these lines allude to the subordinate role that he takes. In line 5, a complication emerges. He is to another due. (5) There is another character in the poem who has seized him by force, like an usurped town. (5) In the appropriation of a town, the usurper must be the new ruler of the town, the authoritative leader who snatches the reins of power from the original leader. This image of an u…
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