Explication of “Divine Sonnet X” by John Donne

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John Donne’s sonnet entitled “Divine Sonnet X” looks closely at death and Donne fervently writes about his views on death and his strong belief that death should not be feared, but embraced. Donne personifies death all throughout his poem as he challenges death by stating that death is not the “mighty and dreadful” part of life that most people fear, but rather an escape from life where people can be at peace like they are when they are sleeping. Donne is literally conversing with death, and pleading his case that death is weak and will never claim victory over men. “Divine Sonnet X” is comprised of poetic devices and vocabulary that not only enhance the power of the message that Donne is trying to convey, but also greatly signifies his theme. Donne’s use of metaphors is commonplace in his sonnet which clearly outlines his purpose. The most prominent device used in this sonnet is Donne’s use of personification. Personification is crucial to his sonnet as it pulls the reader in and aids them in believing in his pursuit to prove that death is not powerful. Used when describing death, personification encapsulates the poem’s intended purpose. The poem uses this poetic device along with Donne’s influential views to convey that death is not strong; it is weak, nor is it worthy of fear or awe. John Donne's vocabulary choices prove beneficial to convey his message and theme. His use of subtext proves successful as the audience sees just how strong his disdain for death is. Donne’s connotations show how much he detests death’s pride and how weak death truly is. Donne illustrates how many people look at death as “Mighty and dreadful” which depicts an implication of just how much death is awed. The word “Mighty” refers to power and the word “dreadful” describes a type of suffering people endure from a common yet great fear of death itself. Donne then describes death as a “rest and sleep” meaning that sleep is peaceful and death cannot affect this. The reader...
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