Death, be not proud Questions and Answers
by John Donne

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Explain how Donne creates an argument against Death in "Death, be not Proud."

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Sonnet 10 begins famously with the opening line "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee" (1).  This personification of death continues through the rest of the sonnet, as Donne basically calls out Death, as though to challenge him or to pick a fight with him.  When reading the first two lines, Donne basically says that, although some people might consider Death to be "mighty and dreadful," he knows that Death is really not that scary (2).  To further downplay Death's menace, Donne likens Death to "rest and sleep" which are really not frightening at all (5). 

The end of the poem argues that Death's power over man is only temporary and fleeting, because God will resurrect His believers to "wake eternally" (15).  Donne's "Sonnet 10" challenges Death, and through the poet's cleverly crafted argument, wins the fight! Donne's conclusion...

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