Theme of DEATH - Death be not Proud - John Donne

HideShow resource information

"Poets approach death in fear" In light on this statement, show how poets explore the theme of death.  

In 'Death be not Proud', the speaker presents death as a weak human limitation.

anthropomorphizing death to undermine it's power and present it as weak, showing confidence rather than fear on the surface 

  • "death be not proud" - opening direct address, daring, against 'fear' in statement, use of apostrophe (impossible reply) 

  • "poor death" sarcastic and confident on the surface  

  • "mighty and dreadful", "overthrow"  

  • his confidence reflected in the poems from, which is a mix of Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnet 

further personification/conceit to present Death as powerless 

  • "slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men" - slave, weak, controlled by higher forces - further insulted with connection to "sickness", "poison", "war" who are also personified as worthless individual. No mention of god, strikingly non-religious for a holy sonnet, suggests that there is no room for god in a world of fate


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all John Donne resources »