Holy Sonnet 10

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In the poem Holy Sonnet 10, the speaker starts talking down on Death, whom he treats as a person. He tells Death not to be so proud, because he’s really not as scary or powerful as most people think. The speaker then starts talking in contradictions, saying that people don’t really die when they meet Death – and neither will the speaker. Then, he insults Death by comparing him to "rest and sleep," two things that aren’t scary at all. The speaker calls Death a "slave", saying that death is just a "short sleep," after which a good Christian will wake up and find himself in Eternity. Once this happens, it will seem like Death has died. Death is a complete poser in this poem, like a schoolyard bully who turns out not to be so tough, after all. The speaker makes death out to be a good thing, because it leads to the new life of Christian eternity. Plus, everyone bosses Death around, from kings to suicidal people. Finally, a lot of the poem’s wit comes from combining symbolic uses of the words "death" and die." In line 14, the speaker uses the concept of death as a metaphor for simple non-existence – something that ceases to be there – which the last word "die" references. The speaker compares death and sleep in the poem. When faithful Christians die, they are only "dead" until the Day of Judgment comes and Christ returns to Earth. They compare this length of time to a period of "sleep." At this point, time ends, eternity begins, and all the faithful Christians who died will "wake up" to be led into Heaven. At this point, all their earthly troubles are over for good, and they will be at "rest" with God. Basically the speaker "wakes up" and he will find himself in Heaven. Death hangs out with a bad crowd, like the kids who hang out behind the bleachers and try to talk you into vandalizing things on Halloween. Unfortunately, they aren’t cool at all. They’re big losers, in fact, and Death knows it – which is why it’s such an insult when the speaker points out Death’s...
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