The Holy Paradox in Donne's Batter My Heart Essays
The great paradox of the Christian faith lies in the condition that in order to be truly free, the soul must first be rescued from the bondage of sin, then recaptured and completely conquered by God. One of the most profound expressions of this paradox is to be found in John Donne' poem, "Batter My Heart" (Meyer 882). Donne expresses this spiritual transformation in intensely passionate language, using rhythm, figures of speech, and sounds to convey this theme.
The poem opens with a bang as the speaker addresses God as "three-personed God" (1), hence the Christian God, with a desperate demand. The opening line uses iambic pentameter meter with a rhythm that suggests the sound of …show more content…
Hurrying forward, the speaker takes the command further by saying "... and bend/ Your force, to break, blow, bum, and make me new" (3-4). Here the rhythm of line two is repeated, but with important changes in the verbs, as God's heavier hand is invoked with violent one-syllable verbs and alliteration: bend, break, blow, and burn. These verbs suggest a refiner's work, such as a blacksmith's or jeweler's, who would work in metals. This alludes to a simile used in the Bible, as God is described in Malachi 3:2: "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like