What literary devices are used in "Death be not Proud" by John Donne?
Other educators have already noted that the key literary device holding this poem together is the personification of Death. Personification is a type of metaphor in which something that is not human is accorded human attributes and described as if it has human motivations. Further to this, however, it should also be noted that death is not actually present, and yet the speaker is addressing it, or him. This form of address is a literary device known as apostrophe, and we can see it most specifically in the opening of the poem—"Death, be not proud"—and in the closing "Death, thou shalt die."
We can also find language features in this poem such as a rhyme scheme and use of the fourteen-line sonnet structure. Donne also uses alliteration ("those whom thou think'st thou dost...").
One interesting feature of this poem is its use of accumulation. This is a rhetorical device in which the speaker intensifies the weight of his point by adding more and more elements to his argument. We can see this...
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