Death, Be Not Proud

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Death “Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10)” by John Donne dramatizes the conflict between the perception and the reality of death, through the use of imagery. The speaker completely talks down the common perception of death, stating that even though many have called it “mighty and dreadful,” it really is not. The speaker compares death to sleep, which is generally an enjoyable thing. The personification of death is something that is popular in culture. Death is often depicted as a skeletal character in a black robe and scythe, also known as the Grim Reaper. Ultimately through death, one finds eternal life and death will cease to exist. In a way death is just another stage of life, but not necessarily the end. This poem is written in the form of a sonnet. A sonnet is composed of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter while also following a rhyme scheme. Iambic pentameter consists of 10 syllable lines, but Donne does not follow these standards to a T. For the most part this poem seems to be a Shakespearean sonnet, which starts with three quatrains and ends with a couplet. The rhyme scheme used here follows the pattern of ABBA ABBA CDDC AA (or EE), which is not the typical rhyme scheme that Shakespeare used when writing his sonnets. The couplet at the end is kind of a stretch, as the words “eternally” and “die” do not actually rhyme, unless the former is pronounced as “eternal-lie” or the latter is pronounced with a long “e.” Death has taken many forms and meanings over

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