Death, Be Not Proud by John Donne

755 Words Jun 20th, 2018 4 Pages
In John Donne’s sonnet “Death, Be Not Proud” death is closely examined and Donne writes about his views on death and his belief that people should not live in fear of death, but embrace it. “Death, Be Not Proud” is a Shakespearean sonnet that consists of three quatrains and one concluding couplet, of which I individually analyzed each quatrain and the couplet to elucidate Donne’s arguments with death. Donne converses with death, and argues that death is not the universal destroyer of life. He elaborates on the conflict with death in each quatrain through the use of imagery, figurative language, and structure. These elements not only increase the power of Donne’s message, but also symbolize the meaning of hope of eternal life as the …show more content…
Here death is actually more pleasurable than sleep, and that many people are ready to embrace death in looking forward to eternal life.
The third quatrain outright mocks and belittles death’s power, and it again is personified by Donne. Here the personification of death weakens the idea of death to a mere “slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,” and reinforces that death has to play by the rules just like mortals (Donne 1100). Death is being controlled by many forces that have authority over who, how, and when death may do its job. This argument takes away death’s mystery by making death mortal, which is neither threatening or in control of anything. Donne puts death’s domain in the gutter among “poison, war, and sickness”, and so all should be treated with equal scorn and disrespect. The power of death is again disregarded when Donne states “And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well” (Donne 1100). He compares death to charms and drugs, which are simple things to help bring sleep to people “as well”(Donne 1100). Also he illustrates that death does not measure up to “charms” and “poppy” because they are the enjoyable experience of death and you can wake up from them. This proves that mortals can achieve exactly what death does, so death lost what was left of its pride. Donne patronizes death, “And better than thy stroke; why swell’st though then?” which questions and condemns any reasoning
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