Study Guide

The Sun Rising Sight and Blindness Imagery

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Sight and Blindness Imagery

Most of the sight imagery is in the second stanza, when Donne talks about the sun's light beams, "reverend and strong." But Donne argues that for all their strength, they can be put out if he simply closes his eyes. Obviously, this can't be literal; the sun is still there. But popular philosophers, including Rene Descartes, were considering the subjective nature of reality—do we make things exist simply by seeing them? Does the sun exist if we can't see it, or is it all in our minds? (Hint: it's not.)

  • Line 13: Donne claims that he could "shut out" the sun's rays by closing his eyes.
  • There's also the "awwww-how-cute" line when Donne claims first that he refuses to shut his eyes because he couldn't stand not to look at his beloved even for a millisecond. He also claims that his love's radiant beauty could blind the sun. Does the sun have eyes? Can it be blinded? We'll get back to you on that.
  • Line 14: Donne just can't close his eyes because he would "lose her sight so long"
  • Line 15: The speaker demands that the sun look at his lady, "if her eyes have not blinded" the sun.

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