On Donne’s Use of the Siege Drama

In the video below, CUA professor of drama Dr. Patrick Tuite gives us an interesting piece of background information to this morning’s reading by poet John Donne: Donne was using imagery that his audience would recognize from stories about cities under siege. To learn more about John Donne (and about how to decorate your office in fun ways), watch the video below:

In the poem, Donne said that reason was a “viceroy” inside him sent by God, but one that was “weak or untrue.” Dictionary.com gives a definition  of a “viceroy” as “a person appointed to rule a country or province as the deputy of the sovereign.” Dr. Tuite mentions that, in some ways, reason can be an unreliable viceroy. Can you describe a way in which you find this to be true?

Photo: “4” by U.S. Army Materiel Command (John B. Snyder) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. John Gaudreau says:

    With regards to Dr. Tuite’s comment that “reason can be an unreliable viceroy”, I believe that this can be accurate at given times. It’s use can help us separate black from white and tell us the right course of action for any number of problems. However, it cannot provide us with the answers to every question that we may have. There are certain issues in life that go beyond basic reasoning skills or knowledge of facts and require a person’s moral compass to make a decision. Issues related to the preservation and sustaining of life for instance require morals just as much as reason to determine their right course of action.

  2. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    Reason vs religion. Ahhh!! It’s like watching the movie “Angels and Demons” all over again. But seriously, reason and religion tend to clash on a lot of subjects. Take evolution, for example. This particular relationship between reason and religion resonates in me personally because I love science, especially medicine, but I also would consider myself true to my faith. So…what now? Well, despite the conflicts, I’ve actually found that reason and religion compliment each other quite nicely. So, I’m sorry, but I disagree with Dr. Tuite that reason is “an unreliable viceroy.”

    Think of it this way. Reason equals facts and evidence. Religion equals emotion and faith. Completely black and white, if you ask me. But, when put together, you find a perfect yin-yang of understanding. You cannot know something without understanding its meaning and you cannot understand something without knowing what it is exactly. Think of a sunset. All it is is a giant ball of gas lightyears away and the Earth happens to be rotating around it at a certain time. That’s a fact and that’s reason. However, that’s not what we see as humans. We feel emotions and we are in awe of its beauty when we see a sunset. The sunset is a beautiful creation for us and it can represent so many things in our lives, like love or loss. That’s emotion and that’s religion.

    You see, we can’t separate the two spheres of thinking from each other when we study our world, just like a sunset. The two rely on each other so that we can fully comprehend what we are experiencing. Facts and faith, meaning and knowledge, reason and religion all work together to explain what is around us.

Leave a Reply