Holy Sonnet 10

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  • Holy Sonnet 10
    • Structure
      • ABBACDDCE FFEGG is a mix of a shakespearean and petrarchan sonnet form; putting his own stamp on it
      • Content not traditional of a sonnet- subverts convention again.
      • Volta remains at line 9 which IS conventional (unlike Holy Sonnet 6)
      • Monosyllables; see techniques
    • Imagery
      • Mocking tone belittles death 'poor death', also 'slave' (provocative undertones)
      • Appearance versus reality; 'but the pictures be' illusions- not powerful
      • 'pleasure' 'flow' have positive connotations subverting traditional views of death. Comforting phonetics of soft vowels
      • Sadness; 'best men wioth thee do go' mirrors tone of Nocturnal.
      • 'Soul's delivery' - soul lives on eternally and escapes prison of life
      • 'why swels't thou then?' image of death swelling with pride = sinful
    • Techniques
      • Metaphysical; Dramatic Opening 'Death be not proud' also monosyllabic= explosive fast pace.
        • More onosyllables throughout 'yet cans't thou kill me' = lively confidence or defensive thrust at opponent?
      • Lists; 'fate, chance, kings and desperate men' and 'poison, war, sickness' all encompassing but also quickens pace- dismissive of  death.
      • Direct address = strong sense of living voice (metaphysical technique)- threatening
      • Personifies death 'poor death'- easier to conquer something that is living.
      • Paradox as defence mechanism; 'death thou shalt die' threatens dearh. Out of fear or confidence?
    • AO4
      • Last sermon he preached to King Charles was called 'Death's Duel'
      • 'we wake eternally' Christian belief that we wake to the presence of God in heaven. Profound but also a quiet confidence that he will reach him.
      • Idea of conquering death in Corinthians- death is an enemy to be destroyed.


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