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Death, Yet but a Word.

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Paul R. Judia Jr. Dr. Filippidis, Engl. 2322 November 21, 2003 Paper 2 Death, Yet but a Word Throughout man's history only one constant act has remained; death. No matter how one looks at life, or what era one is in, death has been there. Death is an act mankind will never be able to avoid, or conquer. However, religion has been a savior for man against death by supporting the idea of death only being a new beginning. Also, some in society have sized death up and realized it is not something a person can control. Both of these concepts and ideas can be seen within William Shakespeare's sonnet "146" and John Donne's sonnet "10" from "Holy Sonnets." Both Shakespeare's and Donne's sonnets embrace and after life and question the true power of death, working death down to nothing more than a faint figure. These ideas and concepts can be seen through the author's use of theme and imagery shaped within the structure. ...read more.


While Shakespeare focuses on a theme of the afterlife, John Donne decides to focus on a theme involving, and showing, Death as a being holding no true power. Donne paints a picture of Death as a real figure in our life. To create this he uses apostrophe as if he where talking to a real live being. Also, the use of personification, such as in line two where Donne explains how Death has been called mighty and dreadful, gives Death human characteristics. Continuing this throughout the sonnet, Donne explains how Death, as a living entity, has no control over when, how, or at whose hand one dies. To support this concept Donne works against society's belief in Death being the deciding factor in our death. Donne explains how it is, "fate, chance, kings, and desperate men" who decide our faith and not death. Both of these themes create a question and/or a concept within the three quatrains. The quatrains within both sonnets are followed by a couplet which brings everything into perspective. ...read more.


This idea of waking in a world not consisting of death is supported in the second line with, "death shall be no more," showing a world where Death no longer serves a purpose. This lack of purpose also returns the theme back on Death being truly powerless. Finally, finishing with a statement consisting of a paradox explaining Death no longer serving a purpose, so death shall just simply die too, Donne returns fully to the theme of Death holding no true power in life or death. Both authors are discussing but one concept, and that is death. A subject many run from, these two embrace it. Their ability to focus on two different points of death is what makes them the great authors they are. William Shakespeare, and John Donne, had a talent for taking a topic and bringing it to a level the common people were able to comprehend. Their use of imagery and theme discussing Death's power, and the question of an afterlife, allow anyone who reads these works to walk away with a different understanding of at least one if not both themes within. Judia 2 ...read more.

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