Monday, September 16, 2013

Analysis of "Holy Sonnet X" by John Donne

Original poem reprinted online here: "Holy Sonnet X" by John Donne
Originally read: April 21, 2013
More information about the Poet:  John Donne



Another poem that has a lot of scholarship behind it.  Also, I've read this poem years and years ago and I think it's probably one of the best Elizabethan Sonnets (disregard what past me wrote in the beginning) written.  So I'll just go over my notes of the poem -- please go to another site for better analysis.

"Anthropomorphized death so the tone can be justified speaker, not 'yelling into the wind.'"  So the tone set up in the first four lines in the poem has a sense of bravado over the concept of death.  What the speaker does is attacks not only his concept of death, but the concept of death.  Also by deriding death the speaker doesn't, necessarily, show fear, but authority in which, "Those who fear death -- death takes away."

"Bravado about immortality or redefinition of death -- happens at the end,"  I think I'm referring to this line in the poem, "Die not, poore death, not yet canst thou kill me."  This could represent the physical or the spiritual "Death."  Or, more telling, that the speaker has more to say and write about death, and death will not shut him down (can be read semi-politically).

"What Death affects.  The physical form -- Death can only decay the physical so it doesn't matter if you are a:" and the line points to "Chance, kings, and desperate men."  Note how this is not a really strong connective list of people, but concepts -- "chance" anyone, "kings" class, "desperate men" state of mind -- yet these this, like the physical can death affect -- but not the "soul."

But there's a caveat -- how you die is physical, "poppie, or charms" brings a sense of "sleep" but the speaker doesn't note like illness, or war, why?  The focus entirely is between the speaker, the spiritual, and death.

For the couplet, "One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, / And death shall be no more:  death, thou shalt die."  Past me wrote, "The couplet reinforces an indignant tone as though the speaker is confident with the redefinition,"  also "The pride shifts from death to the speaker does [the speaker is prideful] does the speaker ten take on the attributes of death?"  I think this is the biggest irony in the poem.  That the speaker boasts and belittled death for being proud, yet the speaker is proud of belittling death's pride.  Does the speaker take on the attribute of death -- as someone or something belittled, yes.

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