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What is the subject matter of the poem Death, Be Not Proud by John Donne?

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rozh | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted May 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM via web

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What is the subject matter of the poem Death, Be Not Proud by John Donne?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:21 PM (Answer #1)

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"Death, be not proud" by John Donne is a poem about the fear of death, written from a Christian perspective. It is therefore considered one of Donne's "Holy Sonnets", and it has a strong religious moral. As many of Donne's sonnets, it uses extensive metaphor and figurative language to make an argument. The poem is cast as a direct speech to Death, who is personified in the poem as proud and boastful. It argues presents reasons why Death should not be proud, first that death is slave to chance, second that other things can lead to death-like affects, and that finally "death, thou shalt die" -- that even death himself is mortal because after the Last Judgement all humans shall have eternal life. Thus people should not fear death, because "One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally."

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