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John Donne Death Be Not Proud: A Strong Religious Belief (Essay Sample)


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John Donne Death Be Not Proud

Death is a topic which has come up again and again in the annals of literature and poetry. Any John Donne poetry analysis is no different – death is a frequent visitor of his poetry, and so is a frequent subject of his readers. It is perhaps the ultimate unknowability of death that makes it such a compelling topic, particularly with the science we now pride ourselves on having. John Donne has used the form of an Italian sonnet for this poem – the stanzas go ABBA CDDC EFFE GG – but the English sonnet does make an appearance here as well, with the poem's three quatrains and final couplet. The three stanzas each take on the figure of death, while the final couplet draws everything together and concludes the poem.
The concluding sonnet shows a strong religious belief which had previously only existed as metaphor in Death be Not Proud – John Donne clearly believes in Christianity, with its belief in the resurrection, and with this he lays down a final admonition to Death, for believing himself to be so high. Perhaps this is John Donne accusing Death of hubris in the face of everlasting life? The title of the poem is indeed referring to pride, which in Catholicism is seen as a sin – another point for the possibility of hubris.
This poem was

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