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Death Be Not Proud Analysis



Author: Poetry of John Donne Type: Poetry Views: 25831





Death be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,

For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,

Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.

From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,

Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,

Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.

Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,

And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,

And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?

One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,

And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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The sonnet “Death Be Not Proud”, written by John Donne in England around the year 1618, is one sonnet of nineteen that are part of a collection entitled The Holy Sonnets. Through the use of literary terms and techniques, “Death, Be Not Proud”, exemplifies the popular Christian philosophy of the period, that heaven is eternal.
John Donne starts the poem “Death Be Not Proud” in utilizing the figurative language of personification, “ Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so”. In using this technique the author is able to apply human qualities which make Death tangible and a being in which the narrator can entertain an argument and eventually win his case based upon Christian philosophy. Additionally, in the personification of treating Death, the embodiment of non-living as a living being, the author has also utilized the literary term irony. It can be seen that through the use of personification and irony John Donne has set the stage for Death to become just as undone as any man.
The continued unraveling of Death is illustrated in lines 5 and 6 through the use of metaphor, “... From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow”. The narrator is claiming that rest and sleep are nothing but pictures of death, an image of what death is, and that they provide much pleasure so when death actually does happen the pleasure will be much greater. This line of conversation brings death who imagines himself to be mighty and feared in line 1 and 2 down to a being who now brings much pleasure instead of fear. Then in lines 9 and 10, “Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, and dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,” through the use of imagery John Donne hands Death a crushing blow to his fearsome image. Death is presented as a slave to Fate, Chance. Kings, and Desperate men. It is shown that death’s home, his dwelling is with poison, war and sickness, and that he must await the outcome and decisions of his masters, the true powers that be fate, chance, kings and desperate men.
Finally, in the last two lines of 13 and 14 through the author’s further use of irony, Death is told, he “...shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.” . Much of the irony here is that it is only due to Christian philosophy, the belief that there is no death, that the argument is won for the narrator. With the death of ones physical body, man awakens to an eternal spiritual life ad death is over, man wins.
It can be seen throughout the poem “Death, Be Not Proud” that the use of literary terms and techniques helped highlight and explore the views of Christian philosophy which during the time of John Donne was eternal life , the only option to believe.

| Posted on 2012-05-24 | by a guest


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Hey,
I only wanted to thank Alaa Cali4nia Boy
the analysis was Great! it was vary helpful.
so thanks again and God bless.
a student.

| Posted on 2012-02-11 | by a guest


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In John Donne’s poem, “Death Be Not Proud”, he offers death as a living being. Many do not analyze this part of the poem and continue reading as it is simply another poem. Donne uses a wide range of ways, including a paradox, to personify death. To find what the paradox means, you must read and discover. \"Death, thou shalt die\" contradicts itself, therefore leaving a since of confusion and grabs your attention. “Death Be Not Proud’ was comprised along with eighteen other Holy Sonnets. It was no accident Donne was trying to forcefully show, through his diction, that death cannot prevail.
Death is given the characteristics of someone who is an oppressor, without real power “some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not soe”. This offers a firm tone of declaration. “For those whom thou think\'st thou dost overthrow, die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. Donne gives Death life, and therefore makes it mortal, exposing it to pain, torment and at some point like the rest of us, defeat. The poem continues to take apart death from something mysterious and feared, and shows it as something weak and unimportant. The speaker’s main argument is in beliefs of the Christian philosophy such as the promise of eternal life. The sonnet attacks death from two different angles; a secular angle and a religious angle. The first twelve lines are mostly secular and non-Christian can follow the argument. The last two lines require a belief in Christianity, and with this belief, comes the more powerful, dramatically stated words: “And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die”, which relates to the Christian concept of Eternal Life. Death should not be proud because we ultimately live eternally. Everyone must die \"our best men with thee do go\".
The first angle, secular, Donne starts with a feeling of hate and grief in the words used against death, creating an immediate, snide meaning, with this character. He mocks by saying: “Die not, poore Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.” Here the words “poore Death” are used to diminish Death’s fear factor. The same effect is offered in these lines, “From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, much pleasure; then from thee much more most flow.” Here the Donne is stating that since death appears outwardly to be a type of sleep, and that sleep is usually a pleasurable thing, that death must be more pleasurable. Mocking is then turned into Death’s occupation being like slave work. “Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men.” This line offers a tone of strong emotional meaning, that death has no real power, and it is simply summoned without freedom or doing it being able to do as it wishes. Death cannot kill us “Fate, Chance, Kings, and desperate men” kill us, he just delivers us. To survive, he depends on other people. Donne even pokes fun at Death saying that “poppy or charms can make us sleep as well”, meaning that death is just a weakling. He compares death to sleep “thy pictures.” Sleep is pleasant; therefore death must be, so why fear it?
The last angle, within the last two lines, shows that death has no bravery, and requires a belief in Christianity. According to Christian beliefs, those that believe in Christ will never die and live eternally, \"That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life\" (John 3:15 KJV). This does not say that believers escape the natural way of dying like everyone else, but they are entering into a better, eternal life. This saying that the earthly body is left behind in the ground and the soul continues to live forever, therefore escaping death. The last line of the poem is the final stab against death. It says that death is meaningless, and a paradox. This is written presenting another strong emotional tone “death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.” Based on Christianity, there is no death; the only thing is eternal life. After the physical death, we will wake and to eternal life somewhere and death will be finished.

| Posted on 2012-01-06 | by a guest


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inteco.ua - ïðîôíàñòèë, áîëüøîé âûáîð, äîñòóïíûå öåíû

| Posted on 2011-12-28 | by a guest


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generally the poet tries to tell the reader that though dearth kills people they should not be afraid of it,thus persona emphasize towards dearth that though you think you are able to kill people we should not be afraid of you,by MAGORI From MUCE Tz

| Posted on 2011-12-18 | by a guest


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generally the poet tries to tell the reader that though dearth kills people they should not be afraid of it,thus persona emphasize towards dearth that though you think you are able to kill people we should not be afraid of you,by MAGORI From MUCE Tz

| Posted on 2011-12-18 | by a guest


.: :.

generally the poet tries to tell the reader that though dearth kills people they should not be afraid of it,thus persona emphasize towards dearth that though you think you are able to kill people we should not be afraid of you,by MAGORI From MUCE Tz

| Posted on 2011-12-18 | by a guest


.: :.

generally the poet tries to tell the reader that though dearth kills people they should not be afraid of it,thus persona emphasize towards dearth that though you think you are able to kill people we should not be afraid of you,by MAGORI From MUCE Tz

| Posted on 2011-12-18 | by a guest


.: :.

generally the poet tries to tell the reader that though dearth kills people they should not be afraid of it,thus persona emphasize towards dearth that though you think you are able to kill people we should not be afraid of you,by MAGORI From MUCE Tz

| Posted on 2011-12-18 | by a guest


.: :.

generally the poet tries to tell the reader that though dearth kills people they should not be afraid of it,thus persona emphasize towards dearth that though you think you are able to kill people we should not be afraid of you,by MAGORI From MUCE tz

| Posted on 2011-12-18 | by a guest


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The poet attacks death verbally that even though some people are afraid of you and call you so strong and scary , you should not be proud. You think that you have killed people whereas niether they are dead nor you are able to kill me.Then poet compares death to sleep and rest, so he believes that these are the same.So, Death is not only frightening but also pleasurable. The poet says virtuous andthe best men are killed and surrender to you physically but not spiritually.Then poet compares death to a slave which is a plaything in the hand of x says some flowers and even magic can also kill us even much better than you.So, why are you proud?
In the couplet, poet believes that death is like a short sleep afterwhich we wake uo forever,so death is not much dreadful. In fact death itself will die.
Hamidreza Aminian.

| Posted on 2011-10-14 | by a guest


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john in this poem mocks death . He believes that death is not as terrible we are worried about . he tells death that although you think thatyou are able to kill people, you are really not . you can remove people bodies but not their souls and bones.you are a plaything in the hand of destiney,chance, kings and hopeless men. in fact poison,war, illness and cause it not you yourself. opium and magic also cause it better than you. At the Donn believes that death is like a short sleep after which we wake up forever , so death loses the game .

| Posted on 2011-10-14 | by a guest


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no different from sleep only this time around we get to sleep a bit longer...but wait...we wake eternally and death would be no more. death really is\'nt that powerfull and Donne presents that from the biblical point of view.Implicilly, however Donne seem to be afraid of death himself.

| Posted on 2011-04-04 | by a guest


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It is iambic pentameter.
It seems like Petrarchan style sonnet because it isn\'t the standard English sonnet.
It has an Italian-Petrachan style octave rhyming scheme - abba abba
The sestet rhyming scheme is cddc and a mysterious couplet. Does eternally rhyme with x sonnets cannot end in a couplet, but an English sonnet must.

| Posted on 2011-02-06 | by a guest


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Just want to say:
This is a Petrarchan/Italian sonnet.
Notice the rhyme scheme: abba abba cddc ee.
This is a common ryhme scheme for ITALIAN/PETRARCHAN sonnets.
Thank you and have a great day!

| Posted on 2011-01-28 | by a guest


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this poem be real good. i can relate to how ppl wudn\'t want to die. he should write more stuff like dis cause ppl would think it gud.

| Posted on 2011-01-25 | by a guest


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hiiii gys
i have an exam the next week about this poem, but our teacher asked us about the occasion of this poem and the poet\'s mood at the time of composing this poem. please help me to answer these two questions....
with all my love\'\'\'\'

| Posted on 2011-01-20 | by a guest


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I actually enjoy this poem because it gives the view on death another view. This poem basically says that when we \"die\" we are not technically dead for our body is resting and our our souls leave the \"home\" in which it was occupying and the soul lives on forever in either another body or just in heaven.. But we never technically die just take a long rest. And for someone to say your dead is dead itself, as okay we established your not really dead but asleep, so okay that\'s dead, as an old phrase for that is so old or it doesn\'t make sense no more so kill it, let it go.

| Posted on 2010-11-28 | by DeviousB15


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death be not proud is an English(Shakespearean sonnet wrote by john Donne to a friend after the friend past away.He demises death and says,if sleeping and wresting is a picture of u how nice wont you be.In this way he mocks death and personifies it to make death vonroble.where doing this poem in South-Africa gr 10 1st add language and i really learn t a lot because of your adds. Im writing a test about it tomorrow.Popies and charmes mean:popie as poppie seed wich is used in an commen known drug evan then known as LSD , charmes are like people putting spells on one onother.And the speeling is correct in the poem thats tht way they spelled at that time .peace out ;)

| Posted on 2010-11-09 | by a guest


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line by line morphological analysis continues..
11&12 : Poppy and charms can also make us go into sleep. Then, why do you think you are better than these.
13&14 : After one short sleep sleep we will awake for ever and there shall be no more death, because death..you will die.
-A student from India-

| Posted on 2010-10-03 | by a guest


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This is a line by line morphological analysis of the poem.
1&2 : Death, you cannot be proud for the reason that some have called you mighty and dreadful.
3&4 : The ones you think you have killed have not died a poor death. Nor you can kill me.
5&6 : Rest and Sleep which are told to be your pictures, give lot of pleasure. so when you come on your own more pleasure should flow.
7&8: you take our best men sooner than others. But you canot take their bones and souls.
8&9 : your art (ie:killing)is slave to fate,chance,kings and desperate men and you are enslaved by poison,war and sickness as well.
-A student from India-

| Posted on 2010-10-03 | by a guest


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\"I\'m sorry to correct you again, but if you focus on the ending of the poem you will see an end rhyme which shows Donne\'s poem actually is an English sonnet. It ends \"eternally\" and \"die\", a slant rhyme.\"
Eternally and die is not a slant rhyme, since in the time written the ending was pronounced the same way... thats what my teacher said at least. ;)

| Posted on 2010-10-01 | by a guest


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I would like to point out that the spelling in the original was accepted at the time. Spellings and meaning change constantly in the English language. Donne was a master of his craft

| Posted on 2010-08-02 | by a guest


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u guys really help guess im not the only one who really needs an explanation..this poem is really hard to understand so far i know that his is mockin death which is personified into a human.Death should not be proud of itself for it have no reasons. Also ''for those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow, die not poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me'' thoses who wish for death do not get it.Death cannot kill. Rest and sleep are being compare to death for they are alike. however rest and sleep are much plesurable than death. THe best of men will leave this earth but their bones will remain and the souls will move on. Death is Slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men who take their own lives. they use death not death usin them .Hence death lives around. Poppy and charms can out us to sleep but better than death why should death be proud? when we die we,our souls raises. Death is a short sleep and we will awake. Death should not be proud for death is to did of death
lltunes

| Posted on 2010-06-13 | by a guest


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What is with the spelling?? I am reffering to a published copy of the poem in the book Lines to time. and the poem on the website is very wrong. "Stroake" and "Poyson" are certainly not right! Please learn how to spell.

| Posted on 2010-06-06 | by a guest


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thanks so much for Alaa cali4nia Boy analysis ... it is really great

| Posted on 2010-06-04 | by a guest


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Please explain old english words as the readers cannot understand its literal meanings at the time of reading these poems.
Muhammad Farooq-ul-Mannan

| Posted on 2010-04-28 | by a guest


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I'm sorry to correct you again, but if you focus on the ending of the poem you will see an end rhyme which shows Donne's poem actually is an English sonnet. It ends "eternally" and "die", a slant rhyme. This couplet demonstrates, like death itself, a short conclusion for a longer problem. The first three quatrains of the poem serve as an inquisitive apostrophe to death as one would question it in life while the ending eliminates that question as death would eliminate them with enternity.
Thanks,
A Student

| Posted on 2010-02-18 | by a guest


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In the first line, Donne says that death should not be proud. In the remainder of the poem he gives reasons for this. First, Donne says, death doesn't really kill. Death is just a form of sleep. Donne then points out that people can control death and cause it themselves, so death is actually a slave. In the last two triumphant lines, Donne indicates that death is only temporary, because we will wake up again.

| Posted on 2010-02-16 | by a guest


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thanks 2 u cai4nia boy.u just gave me an expo 4 my exams dat is coming up.u are great!!!!but i need a favour.i need the full explanation with figures of speech on ''going to bed'' an elegy by john donne plz

| Posted on 2010-01-24 | by a guest


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hey
when trhe poem says death its showing its a person that cannot b stopped. he doesnt like it though but everyone is takin away by death even if they are specail. it shows that were all equal in a a sence of death and that we should all accept it.

| Posted on 2010-01-10 | by a guest


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friends!
i am just a university student attending in Myanmar.My teacher will give us explanation about this poem. For that,she makes us read some analysis about this poem at the internet. i am not so familiar with computers. still studying. As the poet says, everyone has to die one day. So we should not be afraid of death thinking.We should prepare all the best things we want before we die.
Good luck!

| Posted on 2009-12-29 | by a guest


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friends!
i am just a university student attending in Myanmar.My teacher will give us explanation about this poem. For that,she makes us read some analysis about this poem at the internet. i am not so familiar with computers. still studying. As the poet says, everyone has to die one day. So we should not be afraid of death thinking.We should prepare all the best things we want before we die.
Good luck!

| Posted on 2009-12-29 | by a guest


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the lord
i think this poem its very sudness and don
ne use very hard words

| Posted on 2009-12-27 | by a guest


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As far as I can tell, Death be not proud actually depicts that, we should not afraid of death. Because in the first quatrain states that, some people called death might be very terrible and unplesent experience, whereas, john Donne assure them that, death is not like that and prove himself by explicating some of his sonnets. `Death be not proud, though some have called thee` In this line he says, death is not as terrifying as we think it actually are. Further he adds, it is perhaps more joyfull and pleasurable than we ever imagine. Rest and Sleep are one of the copy of death, as while sleeping and rest we feel ourselves half Consciousness which is a clear sign of death. Those who meet their destiny sooner means they are going to feel a pain of joy initially afterwards their death provides his sould full of comfort and Unthinkable Experience. The Poet further says that, the man is a powerful applicant to invite his own death by taking drugs and poisions but death is itself helpless and slave of our fate. Though, it is undoubtedly true that we all have to taste the joy of death but when we die our soul experience the changless eternal life.

| Posted on 2009-12-01 | by a guest


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Just to correct one person's remarks on the form of the poem, Donne's is an Italian (or Petrarchan) rather than an English sonnet. An Italian sonnet contains the end-rhyme scheme of ABBA ABBA as its first unit, an
*octave.* A sestet, the second unit of structure in the Italian sonnet, has different possibilities but contains different ending sounds from those two in the octave. An English (or Shakespearean) sonnet has three quatrains and a final rhyming couplet.
Best,
Instructor Friend

| Posted on 2009-11-30 | by a guest


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heyz!
lsn people please i need some serious help
i have an exam and i should write a paragraph in response of this poem as death itself speaking in response to the poet's opinion
pleas help

| Posted on 2009-11-04 | by a guest


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why should death not be "proud"? is it because he doesnt really take a life or that he isnt feared?

| Posted on 2009-08-04 | by a guest


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Analysis :
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. In his metaphysical conceits, the poet developes a lengthy, complex image to express his involved but controlled view of a person, object or feeling, in this case death being compared to a person. The movement is appropriate as the defiant tone in the beginning lends itself to the fast pace of the first four lines. A steady pace is then developed while Donne explains his point of view. An elegy is a classical form of poetry mixed with modern influences and this emphasises Donne's own form of writing and what he tries to convey in the poem, mixing feelings with calculated thoughts. Being a metaphysical poet, Donne usually used irregular rhythms, however, in this poem he uses bound verse and has a metrical pattern. He too is cynical and states; "Die not, poor death" and humiliates death. By making slight variations in the rhythm, the poet gives the lines a melody. 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. Enjambment is used to give many of the lines a free flowing affect and therefore create a faster pace when it is needed. The poet uses Iambic pentameter to create a rhythmical feeling within the poem. The use of diction is extravagant and is very important in the poem as it must describe the poet's feelings and, with difficulty, describe death. Donne uses realistic language so as to appeal to the masses. 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. Donne personifies Fate and Chance to indicate they too are above dying.
Written by : Alaa Cali4nia Boy

| Posted on 2009-07-28 | by a guest


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Analysis :
Death, commonly viewed as an all-powerful force against life, is otherwise described in John Donne's Holy Sonnet 10. As found in any English Sonnet, there is a rhyme scheme and a standard meter. Although the standard meter is iambic pentameter, as in most English Sonnets, the rhyme scheme differs a little from the usual, consisting of ABBA ABBA CDDC AE. Sonnets convey various thoughts and feelings to the reader through the different moods set by the author. In this case the speaker having to confront Death and defeat it, sets the mood. Throughout existence, there have been many theories regarding exactly what role Death plays in the lives of those who experience it. Some think Death is the ultimate controller of all living things, while others believe it is nothing more than the act of dying once your time has come. Donne, on the other hand, has his own philosophy. The entire Sonnet, Donne speaks directly to Death.
Without fate nothing could be determined, therefore, our fate is truthfully what controls our lives and deaths. In lines one and two Donne says "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee, Mighty and dreadful thou art not so. Although we tell Death it does not control what our destiny is, we still recognize that eventually all of us will get there one way or another as stated in lines seven and eight, "And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Dreams can only offer so much, as compared to eternal happiness will never ceases to give tranquility. " All of us will end up meeting Death; nevertheless it will not come for us during our lifetime, it will only watch from a distance, until called again. When Death becomes a slave it is because it will benefit from who will die, but doesn't have the power to kill. It decides when our time has been completed on this earth, and then comes Death to take us away. Death is shown a sense of insecurity in line three when the speaker says, "For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow, die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. He gives Death life, and therefore makes it mortal, exposing it to pain, torment and eventually defeat. In line nine, the speaker goes against that to say that Death is a slave to fate, chance and us. Next, in line 10 he says "And dost with poison, war" and sickness dwell;" Therefore, not only is Death a slave, but it is also dependent on people in order to survive. " By referring to Death as a person, he makes it easier for the reader to bring Death down to a level of a weakness and venerability, allowing us to examine it to see what Death really is. " Donne is telling Death that all those who it think it killed it really didn't, and that it cant kill him, again proving that Death is not what takes lives but what delivers them.
Written by : Alaa Cali4nia Boy

| Posted on 2009-07-28 | by a guest




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