Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Death, be not proud" by John Donne

The vibe I got from this poem was that it was a stream of arguments to prove that man's greatest fear has no power over him. By man's greatest fear I am referencing the fear of death in this instance. In the poem, the speaker is directly addressing death and almost criticizing it for having a false sense of strength over the people it affects. The speaker, however, says that anything that has such despicable causes ("and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell") is not worthy of respect. Basically, the speaker holds that the realm of death is dishonorable and is a dimension in which no one would want to rule. On another note, it becomes clear that the speaker wove some religious undertones into the meaning of this poem. When it says "one short sleep passed, we wake eternally", the speaker is referencing Christians' belief that death is merely the beginning of eternal life. Oftentimes death is seen as a peaceful event to a faith-filled individual because it means being reunited with God. The last line of the sonnet serves as a paradoxical message involving death. It is written that "and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die". Here the speaker is saying that because of the magnitude of Christians' faith the idea of death will die because it will no longer seem like an ending to their lives. Death will be viewed as a beginning of a new life, an eternal one.

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