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Religion in Donnes Death Be Not Proud - Essay Example

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This paper consists of the analyses of two works. These are "Religion in Donne’s Death Be Not Proud" and Metaphor in Jonson’s "Queen and Huntress".“Death Be Not Proud” is a classic metaphysical poem composed by John Donne in 17th century England. "Queen and Huntress" praising either the brilliance of the goddess Hesperus or Venus…
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Religion in Donnes Death Be Not Proud
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Download file to see previous pages “Death Be Not Proud” treats with eschatological themes since the perspective of the speaker is mainly religious. The biology of man dictates that he has to die. Man, only composed of flesh and blood, eventually disintegrates to dust. The physical decomposition of man emphasizes his frailty and fallen nature. In the many interpretations of death, Donne puts forward his beliefs on life, death and human suffering. Cognizant of his mortal constitution, Donne still rebuffs death as a being that is overcome by the bright prospects of the afterlife. The Reformation movement deeply casts an indelible mark upon the face of religious life and the belief system in England until Donne, formerly a Catholic, converts to Protestantism. In his poem , Donne casts down the pride of death and hopefully asserts that humans pass not only from one physical state to another, but also from one world to the next, leaning on Reformation teachings of the afterlife as a means of consolation and courage. The English Reformation commenced in England since the 14th century with John Wycliffe. However it was not until three centuries later that the Reformation cemented in England. The conflicts between the Catholic kings and Pope and the Protestant movement headed by Henry VIII sparked much dissension. However, it is not until Queen Elizabeth I (1556-1603) that English Protestantism takes root. After she is deceased, she names another Protestant king, King James I (1603-1625) to succeed her. This king is the same monarch who authorizes the printing and publishing of the well-known King James Version of the Bible. Religion figures preponderantly in politics and wider society. As some believed in the divine right of rule that belonged to the monarchy, allegiance to God in some minds is equated to loyalty to the king. In the 17th century, England divorces itself from the Papacy, literally and figuratively through Henry VIII’s displeasure at being disallowed a divorce by the Pope. As a result, the State’s religion becomes English Catholic or Anglican. Different segments of Christians advocate widely different beliefs for they see the flaws in the Church thus urgently recognize the need to reform. The Puritans and the Quakers are some of these non-conformist churches. Certain laws come into force which give these sectarian non-conformist groups freedom to practice their religion unhindered such as The Corporation Act (1661), the Act of Uniformity (1662), the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Toleration Act (1689). As Reformation continues in England and the feeling of discontent with religion increases, more and more people leave the mainstream state religion in favor of others. This time marks the period when the English Church distances itself as far as possible from Catholicism to the point at times to hostility (Mullet 245-55). Donne’s poetry cannot be understood apart from his reformation theology. The Reformation was founded on three principal tenets, sola scriptura, sola fide and sola gratia or (by the Word alone, by faith alone, and by grace alone respectively) (O’Collins 2004). This movement inspires many radical changes to take place so that adherents turn to a Christocentric belief system. As an Anglican minister, Donne incorporated his reformed beliefs into his poetry, although he does not wholly divorce some Catholic teachings. Donne’s theological perceptions on death predominantly derive from the Reformers since it is so rooted in the Scriptures. Widely distinct from Catholicism, Protestantism is not considered compatible with Catholic dogma. On one hand, Catholicism embraces superstition and its worship was grounded on tradition, rather than on the Bible especially with such doctrines as the Eucharist, purgatory, the worship of relics, the worship of saints, indulgences sales and Latinized readings. On the other, the Reformers sought a closer relationship with God through Bible truth ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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