Death Be Not Proud

1036 Words Apr 30th, 2013 5 Pages
COURSE # AND TITLE: ENGL 102-D11: Literature and Composition
SEMESTER OF ENROLLMENT: Spring 2013
NAME: Greg Mohnkern ID: L23191458
WRITING STYLE USED: Essay of poetry (MLA style)

Thesis Statement:
“Death be not proud” by John Donne personifies death, as its title aptly prescribes. Giving death human traits allows the writer to blast him with colorful images full of sarcasm and a tone of defiance. The ultimate message of the author provokes the human soul to resist the fear of death.
Outline:
Introduction: Thesis statement
Transition: Discuss the writer’s life in relationship to the subject of the poem
Body:
Discuss the poem’s form based on the 14-line Petrarch sonnet
Evaluate the mood and tone as it
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Donne’s poem is written in the traditional 14-line format of a sonnet, “which was the vogue… in England at the end of the sixteenth century” according to authors Kennedy and Gioia in Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry , Drama and Writing ( 574). Donne lived from 1572-1631 (Kennedy 744). “The sonnet owes much of its prestige to Petrarch,” (Kennedy 574) an Italian poet. “English poets …(eventually) worked out their own rhyme scheme,” (Kennedy 574) which would explain why this isn’t a true Patrarchan sonnet. Donne’s penned work naturally breaks his thoughts and the poem into three quatrains and a couplet. His thoughts come to a conclusion after lines 4, 8 and 14 with the use of periods, as well as a question mark for line 12, noting the end-stops. The rhyme scheme in American English is abba, abba, cddc ae, but if spoken with an English accent, the final couplet could reasonably be interpreted as aa, which would appear to be more likely.
In his first quatrain, Donne approaches “Death” as if it was standing in front of him. In a defiant tone, he tells him “Death be not be proud…” (1). He builds his defiance by telling “Death” that, in spite of what others may have told him, he isn’t “mighty” (2) or “dreadful” (2). The sarcasm climaxes as Donne tells “Death” the reality that those whom he thinks he has slain really aren’t dead, nor can “Death” slay this…