Study Guide

A Hymn to God the Father Sin

By John Donne

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Sin is everywhere in "A Hymn to God the Father." The speaker just can't seem to get away from it, poor fella. He's preoccupied with several types of sin: Original Sin, which every human is guilty of at birth because of Adam and Eve's transgression; the sin of leading others astray; the sins that the speaker at first resists and then gives into; and the sin of fear. Man, that's a whole lotta sinning.

Questions About Sin

  1. Does the speaker plan to sin again, no matter what? How does this affect the poem's definition of sin?
  2. Is there a sin that the speaker considers to be worse than the other types of sin? How do you know? 
  3. How does Donne emphasize the theme of sin through his word choice and his form? 
  4. Why does the speaker think fear is a sin? Do you agree? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The speaker feels guilty about events that happened before he was even born. No wonder he's so worried all the time.

The speaker also believes that, as long as he has a relationship with God's son, he'll be forgiven of all his sins. So, he's got that going for him.

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