Death be not proud

John Donne's'Death be not proud' is a Shakespearean sonnet written by a deeply committed Christian who wishes to indicate he is not afraid of death and discusses his feelings on life after death. The poet wishes to convey his message of eternal life and feels that people should not be afraid of dying, as there will still be, in his view, eternal life in heaven. He knows that everyone must die eventually, even, "our best men with thee do go". This is his basis for his acceptance of death and thereby defeating it. Donne's motivation for this poem stems from his religious background as he was a descendant of Saint Thomas Moore and was raised as a Roman Catholic, yet he still fuses his calculated thoughts with his feelings.
Donne opens the poem with a defiant tone, indicating his stand against death. This tone empowers the poet and exploits death and its frailties and is maintained throughout the poem making death appear weak and fallible. The tone then changes in the last line to a triumphant tone as death is now defeated. The poet succeeds in conveying his emotions using expressive diction, questioning the reader's emotions and thoughts on death and thereby creating insight in the readers mind. The use of diction is extravagant and is very important in the poem as it must describe the poet's feelings and, withdifficulty, describe death. Donne uses realistic language so as to appeal to the masses. He uses extremely emotive diction, such as "Mighty" and "dreadful" to incite feelings in the reader and to indicate that death is not these things. He too is cynical and states; "Die not, poor death" and humiliates death. Donne writes death with a small case'd' to indicate death is defeated. Personification is used to humble death and create a sense that death is not all-powerful. The poet even calls death a slave and again


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