John Donne Questions and Answers

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What is a detailed analysis of the poem ''This Is My Play’s Last Scene'' by John Donne in terms of language/structure/ tone/imagery/symbols/themes?

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In the opening metaphor of this sonnet, Donne imagines life as a play; as he is now approaching his "last scene," the play—the speaker's life—must soon come to an end. This is a euphemistic way to look at life and death, as too are the other metaphors Donne employs: life is variously a "pilgrimage" whose final "mile" is now nearing; a "race" which will soon be over; a "span" and a "minute" both reaching their endpoints. The large number of different metaphors all pointing to the same conclusion seem to emphasize the idea that, however we choose to look at life, it will inevitably end in the same way—with our death.

Death is depicted as "gluttonous," a human attribute suggesting that it will consume all of us. It is not clear whether it is this "face" which the speaker's "ever-waking part," his soul, fears most, or whether Donne is here referring to the devil, but the speaker vividly describes a moment between sleep and the ascension of the soul in which he expects fear to overcome...

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