Death, be not proud by John Donne

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What are the figures of speech in "Death, be not proud"?

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The most important figure of speech in the poem is the personification of "Death." By personifying death, Dickinson makes it seem less powerful. In fact, she makes it seem mortal, and vulnerable, just like people. This is the point that Dickinson makes throughout the poem. Toward the end of the poem, she emphasizes the point by posing a rhetorical question, addressed to death. She asks, "why swell'st thou then?" The point of a rhetorical question is to put an implied answer in the listener's mind. The implied answer here, based on what Dickinson has said about death previously in the poem, is that death should not be arrogant, and so has no reason at all to "swell."

Throughout the poem Dickinson also uses a lot of imperative phrases. An imperative phrase begins with a verb, and is expressed as an order. For example, "be not proud," and "Die not, poor Death." By using imperative phrases like this, Dickinson is implying that death is not the one with the power. Death is the one who must take...

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