The Personification And Criticism Of Death In John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud."


The Personification and Criticism of Death in John Donne's "Death Be Not
"No poem of John Donne's is more widely read or more directly
associated with Donne than the tenth of the Holy Sonnets, 'Death, be not
proud.'" (Dr. Gerald McDaniel, lecture). In this sonnet, Donne personifies
death in two ways, as rescuer and as punisher of even the most noble.
Using these personifications, Donne turns the sting of death against death
itself.
Donne's personification of death begins in line two where he says
that some people have called death "Mighty and dreadful"(l 2). The quality
of being powerful and the ability to cause great fear, basic definitions
taken from Random House's 1962 The American ...

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Death, nor
yet canst thou kill me" (ll 2-4), Donne defies death's power. He is so bold
as to mock death, calling it "poor death" (l 4), giving death the sense and
personification of being deficient in that it cannot kill Donne.
In the second quatrain, Donne continues his critique of death. He
questions death that if sleep or rest is a pleasure of life, then what
greater pleasure can death bring? "Much pleasure, then from thee much
pleasure must flow" (l 6). Donne also gives death credit that even the
virtuous go with death, "And soonest our best men with thee do go" (l 7),
to be delivered to an eternal rest and their soul's salvation, "Rest of our
bones, and soul's delivery" (l 8).
From the third quatrain comes Donne's second perception about death,
painting death as the associate of all the evil in life by saying "Thou art
slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,/ And dost with poison, war,
and sickness dwell" (l 9-10).

"The poet [Donne] even notes that narcotics or ...

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The Personification And Criticism Of Death In John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud.". (2007, February 2). Retrieved February 27, 2020, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Personification-Criticism-Death-John-Donnes-Death/59661
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"The Personification And Criticism Of Death In John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud."." Essayworld.com. February 2, 2007. Accessed February 27, 2020. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Personification-Criticism-Death-John-Donnes-Death/59661.
"The Personification And Criticism Of Death In John Donne's "Death Be Not Proud."." Essayworld.com. February 2, 2007. Accessed February 27, 2020. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Personification-Criticism-Death-John-Donnes-Death/59661.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 2/2/2007 06:38:26 AM
Category: Poetry & Poets
Type: Free Paper
Words: 573
Pages: 3

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