Death be not proud...for "Love is not love"

| 2 Comments

Intro to Lit. Study--EL 150

Shakespeare, Let me not the Marriage of True Minds

Donne, Death be not proud

Ah, sonnets....to some it is the symbol of love, but to others it can be the use of warning and shame. But which of this two sonnets is which. Donne is obviously not talking about love. But it could be taking that way with Shakespeare...just look at this:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

This sounds like a firm warning of how love can hurt someone. Personally I see love as a gold colored cobra... beautiful but deadly. Shakespeare is pretty much known for his look upon people in love (Look at Romeo & Juliet or Anthony & Cleopatra). So maybe this time he is warning people not to fall blindly in love. But so many people (including yours truly) do and end up hang out to dry like a wet towel. This can make people fall into suicide... here where Donne and death come in. He is right when he says that "Death, be not proud". Donne speak to it like a schoolboy being punished:

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow

The irony in all of this is that death itself is a mighty thing. It is the only guaranteed thing that everyone will experience. I think that Donne hates the fact that death have to be the end for some of the most terrible things that people do to each other. Death is natural but people die from some of the most unnatural causes. Nevertheless, after we die that is it with death...just eternity according to Donne. In some way I think that these two sonnets represent to two basic emotion love (or the lack of) and fear (of death). Do you feel the same way.

2 Comments

I do feel the same way. I thing you hit the nail on the head when describing that each of these poems represent the two basic emotions; love and fear. However, if Shakespeare's sonnet of love is indeed what you said, a warning, perhaps there is fear involved with that one two. Maybe there are universal symbols and emotions that appear in every sonnet that we can't control. For example, I don't think sonnets mean the same thing to everyone that reads them. To me, Shakespear's sonnet wasn't about warning of love, it was about how love can endure and that love is a constant work in progress. So I guess it depends on what the reader's get from it?

Both of these poems reduce Death's power. Shakespeare talks about Death not being able to break about true love... and Donne talks about Death just being an errand boy to fate and chance. I don't necessarily see love in Donne's poem, as much as I see courage.

Like Andy said, it's just like Rocky IV.