Essay, Research Paper
Death as a Revolving Door in Sonnet 10 One is given a different perspective on Death while reading Sonnet 10. Donne seems to taunt Death and makes himself (or even us as humans) feel that we are above it. He simply notes that Death depends on many things in order to succeed (i.e. fate, chance, kings and desperate men). He also mentions that there are many other things that can cause death and would actually be more “pleasant” (i.e. poison, war, sickness and poppy) as compared to the sword of Death. Donne makes the reader feel that Death is no more than a short sleep past (13), it only comes for a second and then the individual will awake into a new life. And beyond Death s door, there lies more life.Donne clearly starts off by ridiculing Death; He says that even though some have called upon for Death, that does not make Death the almighty. Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful (1-2). It is almost like Donne is feeling pity for Death and he also feels that Death will not be able to kill him. For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow/Die not poor Death, nor yet thou canst thou kill me (3-4). Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men (9). I really like this line because here Donne explains why Death has no power. He simply tells Death that fate controls him; by chance he is referring to accidents; kings can order death; and desperate men can commit suicide.Donne again tells Death that there are many other things that we can do in order to sleep and since this is probably more pleasant than being slashed by his sword, then Death should not feel powerful. And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell, And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well/And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then? (10-12).The last few lines depict a strong sense of irony. They are also the most important lines in the whole poem. Donne tells Death that he is going to die. I find this to be quite humorous because I picture this to be slapping Death in the face. One short sleep past, we wake eternally/And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die (13-14). I think throughout this poem, Donne is trying to teach us that through his experiences and knowledge, Death is not the end, but a mere revolving door to another life. He capitalizes Death in this sonnet and gives Death a personified entity. He thinks we shouldn t be afraid of Death, but welcome it realizing through death, we find more life.The afterlife Donne talks about can be illustrated partly through some traditional religious beliefs of the afterlife. Greek Gnosticism, for example, was based on the principle that the human soul is a divine spark, imprisoned in the body, that since taking embodiment has forgotten its divine nature. By achieving “gnosis” (knowledge of its true identity), the soul can obtain salvation, liberating itself from its bodily prison, thus Death.
Jewish apocalypticism envisioned salvation as union of soul and body at the resurrection, for the Gnostics salvation meant the exact opposite – the eternal separation of the two. Despite their contradictory emphases, the Jewish concept of resurrection and the Gnostic idea of eternal life of the soul merged in the Christian notion of the afterlife, in which the eternal soul is reunited with a transformed physical body at the end of time.Death is a liberator for the true believer since, what is a mere life when eternity waits? If eternity is a reality to someone, then there is an argument to be made. In other words, if we are to live a mere few decades, but our souls are to live 70 billion years (and beyond) and someone believes this, then they experience this in some form and puts a twist on all of this. Take for example the death of someone s child. There is no greater tragedy, no greater agony, and no grief that tears more viciously at the soul and rips at the heart. When a child dies, parents search desperately for meaning in the torment. They cry in anguish, How could God be so cruel as to take my child? They grope in vain for reasons: What did my baby do to deserve this? Inevitably they blame themselves, crushing their spirits with incredible guilt: What did I do to deserve this? If we believe that we have only one life to live, the death of a child seems a senseless, unfathomable waste.Nothing can erase the sorrow and pain of such a terrible loss. But if we believe that death is not the end, that we live more than once, and that souls – especially those of children – are reborn quickly, we may take solace in the thought that the child will soon be back on Earth. Parents do not have to lose faith in the order and justice of the universe if they believe that their child’s death has a purpose, however harsh the grief is at the time. Every death is a supreme karmic event for the soul who passes on, as well as for those left behind to suffer the loss. We can trust the logic of the cosmic pattern that the death has meaning, even if that meaning is hidden from us. This eases the despair a little and, as time passes, can lead us to see much deeper meaning in our lives than we ever saw before.Reincarnation offers plausible hope for a real, honest-to-goodness miracle. It is entirely possible that a child lost to death may turn around and be reborn into the same family – a cosmic turnabout. Donne is simply implying that he has knows this and so, mere death is just a mere sleep – a mere passing and beyond death is more life.