Death Be Not Proud Analysis?

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May ( days ago)

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Shahireh wrote: “DEATH, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so: For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me. From Rest and Sleep, which but thy picture be, Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow; And soonest our best men with thee do go– Rest of their bones and souls’ delivery! Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell; And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!”

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  • “Death, Be Not Proud”, exemplifies the popular Christian philosophy of the period, that heaven is eternal.

    John Donne starts the poem “Death Be Not Proud” in utilizing the figurative language of personification, “ Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so”. In using this technique the author is able to apply human qualities which make Death tangible and a being in which the narrator can entertain an argument and eventually win his case based upon Christian philosophy. Additionally, in the personification of treating Death, the embodiment of non-living as a living being, the author has also utilized the literary term irony. It can be seen that through the use of personification and irony John Donne has set the stage for Death to become just as undone as any man.

    The continued unraveling of Death is illustrated in lines and through the use of metaphor, “… From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow”. The narrator is claiming that rest and sleep are nothing but pictures of death, an image of what death is, and that they provide much pleasure so when death actually does happen the pleasure will be much greater. This line of conversation brings death who imagines himself to be mighty and feared in line and down to a being who now brings much pleasure instead of fear. Then in lines and , “Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,” through the use of imagery John Donne hands Death a crushing blow to his fearsome image. Death is presented as a slave to Fate, Chance. Kings, and Desperate men. It is shown that death’s home, his dwelling is with poison, war and sickness, and that he must await the outcome and decisions of his masters, the true powers that be fate, chance, kings and desperate men.

    Finally, in the last two lines of and through the author’s further use of irony, Death is told, he “…shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.” . Much of the irony here is that it is only due to Christian philosophy, the belief that there is no death, that the argument is won for the narrator. With the death of ones physical body, man awakens to an eternal spiritual life ad death is over, man wins.

    It can be seen throughout the poem “Death, Be Not Proud” that the use of literary terms and techniques helped highlight and explore the views of Christian philosophy which during the time of John Donne was eternal life , the only option to believe.


  • Death Be Not Proud Analysis


  • thank you lots. The analysis is a watch opener. Now, a veil has been lifted. After Shakespeare’s sonnets i will drift now to John Donne with out lots trepidation. extra means to you.

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