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Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud

John Donne

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what strength is shown...
Added by: Erica
Having read both this sonnet and Donne's equally impressive 'a valediction: forbidding mourning', i see a trend in his attitude toward death and loss. His tone suggests a personal victory over death, disregarding it's power and proclaiming at least his own ability to rise above it.
I find 'a valediction: forbidding mourning' nothing short of inspiring, as he announces that the love shared with the lost is greater than physical absence, and endures through death.
The personification of death in 'holy sonnet X: death be not proud' is an interesting concept, particularly highlighted in the last line when he says to death 'you shall die', thereby suggesting the same insignificance in death's own demise as he has applied to it's attacks.
overall though, it's an interesting perspective on death as a concept... evidently he has lived through the experience of loss, perhaps multiple losses, and seems to have emerged with a rather healthy philosophy on the whole thing.

rather insightful, and quite impressive.
Sonnet 10
Added by: Ferdydurke
Line by line:

1,2 Donne personifies and addresses Death in the 2nd person, as an equal or even an inferior

3,4 Sarcastic tone: Death thinks it is harming mankind but is really sending people to heaven

5-8 Very similar in idea to Shakespeare's soliloquy in "Hamlet" (To be or not to be...) Sleep is like death only longer lasting... death is only for an instant then off to your reward you go

9,10 Death is not the boss; people often decide who is to die

11,12 Drugs, also, can produce a more satisfying rest than Death

13,14 Death should be afraid, not us
Refreshing Or Foolish?
Added by: Austin Reynolds
John Donne toys with a very serious subject in Deah Be Not Proud. He challenges the severity of that which ends this world for every man. Donne says that death cannot kill him because he will extend beyond the grave and this world. Next the author compares death to sleep- both natural and that induced by drugs or hypnosis. Is he joking? It is one thing to make light of something that one has experienced; it is quite another to do so with something of which they have no first-hand knowlege. He states that death is only a more pleasurable version of sleep. In the end, Donne brags that death is killed at the commencement of the next life. Although this makes some sense, Donne should not make light of that which is a curse on mankind.
To Austin Reynolds
Added by: treblemaker04
obviously, you're plagued by some issues heavier than death that would incite you to question the morality of donne's poetry. the spirit of the poem (especially as it is taken as the title and theme of a book by john gunther) is to ease humanity's anxiety and to coerce a trust in the afterlife. furthermore, it has never been the nature of poetry to jest with the realm of metaphysics! if donne's "light" treatment of his subject matter offends you, i highly recommend that you take a valium before reading anything by Ginsberg, cummings, or even Pound.
1oth sonnet
Added by: edem gben
John Donne’s sonnet is a lovely personification of a rather ironic condition .The poet addresses the subject ‘death’ in a way that challenges society’s view point of the subject. Death basically is a phenomenon feared by many and the very thought of it sends shivers through the hearts of people. In his sonnet, John Donne acts as a literary warrior in refuting this common notion.
Missing Presupposition ...
Added by: NJP
What the above commentors fail to realize is that later in John Donne's life he became a Christian. (This can be seen in the transition from his earlier poetry to the likes of 'Batter My Heart.' This is a necessary piece of information for interpreting 'Death Be Not Proud.' He writes with the presupposition that at the end of his physical life, he will begin an eternal life with God in heaven.
This relief is not for all mankind, but it is for him specifically. Notice he says that some believe death to be mighty and dreadful, but it can not yet kill him.
Also, this sheds new light on his belief that 'death shall be no more', and that 'death, thou shalt die.' For his God conquered death for him, by dying for him. Not all the imagery in 'Death Be Not Proud' is Christian imagery, but to interpret the poem without that presupposition is to interpret it out of context.
to austin reynolds
Added by: poetry queen
to someone who only sees the superficial portion of the poem: it may seem in a way a little morbid but you have to understand this poem on a deeper level you must realize that death is not a curse but a transition in life and he is only stating basically what bob dylan and dylan thomas say you shouldn't let the thought of death defeat you i also believe you should only embrace it and understand that if you live a fulfilling life you will have no reason to fear death but only welcome it and not criticize others for already accepting this in this world people deem death horrible and terrifying only because they dont understand it and haven't come to terms with it but if you can put on the same mindset as donne you will be more fulfilled i hope you take my comments not as criticizing but as a way to better your enrichment in life
'Death Be Not Proud'
Added by: William Owens
....is certainly a prime example of Donne's mastery of expression + power of theological feeling at this time of his life. In response to tragedy + loss, it is a magnificently defiant challenge to Death. It is also "whistling in the dark."
Added by: girlontherun
think of tunnel vision

Death is the darkness and heaven is the light at the end.
Added by: Jane
It seems as if though in the last line the colon simply shows how death is something inferior, simply a pause from life to life eternal.

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