An Analysis Of 'Death Be Not Proud'

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Sonnets have been used for centuries to describe popular topics such as love, sex, and religion. Many popular poets, like John Donne, embrace the Christian belief of the afterlife, but he does this in a very unusual way. John Donne uses “Death Be Not Proud” to reinforce his Christian beliefs of eternal life by standing up to the “playground bully” we call Death. Following traditional sonnet form, “Death Be Not Proud” is composed of fourteen lines. Periods appear at the end of lines 4, 8, 12, and 14, meaning it is written in Petrarchan form. The rhyme scheme is ABBAABBA in the first stanza and CDDCAA in the second, which varies from the traditional ABBAABBA CDCDCD form. Also, we see Donne putting his rhyming words in the middle of lines instead of the end. Each line is written in perfect iambic pentameter, except for line one, which starts with an accented beat only has nine syllables. In the first quatrain, Donne uses personification to give Death a humanlike complexity. Death’s name is even capitalized to create a proper noun, like death is a person. The speaker directly addresses Death and his confident attitude. Death is a bully who makes everyone scared of him and the terrible things he can accomplish. However, the speaker, who is obviously of Christian faith, says he is not afraid of Death. The speaker says, “Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me” (4). First, the speaker calls Death “poor Death”, like he is pitying his weakness (4). Lastly, the speaker
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