Themes in The Extasie

The ecstasy of love

The ecstasy of love is clearly the major theme of The Extasie. Donne looks at the outward manifestations of it and its inner meaning. In fact, the understanding he gains is that

We see, we saw not what did move

In other words, a revelation has come of what true love is, which is quite different from his perception before. There is a place for sex and the physical, but only as an expression of a union of souls.


This idea of union also runs throughout the poem, and suggests also The nature and completeness of the lovers' world. People may come by and look and learn, but the lovers don't need others. Their ecstatic union leaves no room for anyone or anything else. But the world has to include their bodies, else a ‘Prince' lies in prison. The ‘prince' idea is found in other poems by Donne on this theme, as The Sunne Rising.

Investigating The Extasie
  • Try to define Donne's idealism in The Extasie
    • How does it express itself in the poem?
  • Do you feel idealistic about love and the possibilities of it?
    • Do you take heart from Donne's poem?
      • or does it seem irrelevant to your own experience?
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