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Compare and Contrast Four Sonnets Essay - 'Let Me Not'; 'Death Be Not Proud'; 'Shall I Compare Thee'; 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'

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Introduction

Compare and contrast four sonnets A. Cahill 'No mockeries now for them, no prayers nor bells;' Owen shows himself to be cynical of the Christian religion, as he can not see how a loving God could have anything to do with so many deaths. In fact, Owen served three years as a parish assistant. Wilfred Owen died aged 25 on 4th November 1918, a week before the end of the Great War. He was completely unheard of at the time of his death, and only five of his poems had been published. Now he is revered as one of the greatest war poets of all time, and has been nominated the national poet of war. In this essay, I will be comparing one of his most celebrated works, the sonnet 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' with two of Shakespeare's sonnets (the renowned 'Shall I compare thee ...?' and 'Let me not) with John Donne's 'Death Be Not Proud'. These poems are all sonnets, and for the most part follow a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. Sonnets are often employed when writing about a solemn subject, which is common to all poems I will be looking at, as the formal structure can often echo the mood. In both of the Shakespearian sonnets we are looking at, he wrote in the form, which is so much associated with him, known as 'the Shakespearian sonnet form'. ...read more.

Middle

I think that Donne's personification of death is a very effective as it successfully puts across the message of his sonnet, because it enables him to mock death. He also uses rhythm, rhyme, and metre to make his poem flow nicely and sound pleasant to the ear. In lines five to six, he uses a metaphor, by calling all paintings and drawings of death 'rest and sleepe'. In line eight, there is an example of synecdoche, as, Donne means the whole body of the men will be able to 'rest' rather than just 'their bones'. This aids his religious contrast between body and soul. When Donne says 'Why swell'st thou then', he means why is death swelled with pride and it is a rhetorical question, designed to make death question it's reasons for being proud. The last line is very complex, 'And death shall be no more; death, thou shall die', as Donne uses 'death' and the word 'die' to mean three different things. The first 'death' means death in its normal context: physical death. The second is the personified death, and it has the effect of a name. And 'die' means ceasing to exist. Throughout 'Let Me Not', Shakespeare uses a varied and effective range of literary devices. The hyperbole in this sonnet is prevailing, and Shakespeare uses it to convince the reader that love is unchanging. Throughout the poem he also personifies love, like in line six when he says: 'That lookes on tempests' At the end of the first quatrain ...read more.

Conclusion

He says that death 'canst ...kill me', a reference to heaven, in which he believes. He is saying that death is not the end; rather that it is a middle stage, before ultimately being reunited with God or before your 'soules' are 'deliverie' to God. He says death is 'a short sleep' before 'wee wake eternally'. John Donne is undermining death and saying that death, who thinks himself 'mighty and powerful', is in fact a 'sleep' which is 'pleasure'. Although Owen served some time as parish assistant, his poem contains the least reference to the afterlife. There is however a mention of afterlife in the second stanza, when Owen says: 'What candles may be held to speed them all?' Shakespeare discusses the nature of love in both his sonnets, although his beliefs and thoughts are expressed predominantly in 'Let me not'. Sonnet 116 'Let Me Not' discusses the everlasting, and never changing nature of love. Shakespeare shows how he firmly believes that love, requited or otherwise, is a feeling that will stay with you until 'the edge of doom'. True love, says Shakespeare, is an 'ever-fixed mark' that does not cease when it is not returned or 'alter when it alteration finds'. Shakespeare is saying that love takes no notice of the 'brief hours and weeks' or the loss of 'rosy lips and cheeks', which are taken by time. The poem says that love is like 'the marriage of true minds'. Shakespeare says love brings the minds of two people together, as marriage legally brings them together. Some think that perhaps this sonnet is addressed to a man. ...read more.

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