Holy Sonnet

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5 – Paragraph Poetry Devices Analysis Essay

The poem “Holy Sonnet #10” by John Donne is one of the most respected forms of poetry, one of the most difficult to compose and one of the most inspirational to read. Donne uses personification, metaphor and rhetorical question to demonstrate the deep personal meaning of the poem. Donne writes passionately about his feelings towards death. Donne has decided to include these three literary devices in his poem to create a more dramatic effect for his readers.

The first literary device to catch the reader’s attention is personification. Personification is the most important and powerful poetic device used in the “Holy Sonnet #10”. It is mainly used when describing death, personification captures the entire purpose of the poem at each point and Donne’s feelings are displayed very thoroughly at these points. For example, in the very first 2 lines of the poem he writes, “[d]eath, be not proud, though some have called thee” (1) “[m]ighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;” (2). Donne describes how people think of death as “Mighty and dreadful” (2). “Mighty” shows the possible power of death over all living things, and “dreadful” shows the suffering of people, how much there terrified of death. By using personification to address death directly, as though it were a person, allows the reader to easily communicate his/her feelings towards it. Similarly Donne uses personification to make his poems more dramatic and interesting or to convey a certain mood so that his readers can interpret and understand more.

Also throughout “Holy Sonnet #10” Donne uses various metaphors, to describe death. For example in line five Donne writes, “[f]rom rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,” he is stating that “rest and sleep” are pictures of death. This has the reader viewing death as not being a permanent condition because when people sleep they will eventually wake up. He says people think of Death as all-powerful, but Death is...
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