Death Is Not Proud By John Donne Essays

941 Words Nov 14th, 2016 4 Pages
John Donne’s “Death, be not proud” focuses on the ideas of mortality and immortality in relation to death. Donne addresses this theme with a deriding tone, openly mocking the personified death for being proud, as the speaker states “though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, […] thou art not so” (Donne 1-2). This tone brings an interesting attitude towards the idea of impending death, as it completely denigrates the concept that death is a fearful and powerful force that permanently ends life. Instead, the speaker refers to death as the “one short sleep” from which man wakes into eternal life where “death shall be no more” (Donne 13-14). Donne also uses personification to bring human qualities to death, depicting this force as weak, a slave to other forces, and a force that will eventually suffer from the end that all humans must face death. This attitude and reasoning which resonates throughout the sonnet lead to the ultimate paradox which Donne sets forth at the conclusion: death actually releases mankind from death and that those that suffer under this life-force do not die, as they are only brought to eternal life. John Donne uses literary devices such as imagery and language in order to convey the notion of immortality through death in “Death, be not proud.” The first quatrain in Donne’s sonnet demonstrates both the speaker’s personification of death and mocking tone. “Death, be not proud” initially establishes the sonnet’s continual mocking attitude…

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