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Death Be Not Proud Essay

948 words - 4 pages

John Donne, in the “Death, be not proud” challenges death and reasons it not to be proud. As clearly seen from its title, the poet gives strong and powerful reasons for death not to be proud. Death basically is a phenomenon feared by many and the very thought of it sends shivers through the hearts of people. In his poem, John Donne acts as a literary warrior in refuting this common concept.

Many people fear death and struggle to fight it. As explained by Elizabeth Kubler Rose in her book “On Death and Dying”, people face five stages of dying before they accept this fact of life: 1) Denial and isolation-This is not happening to me, 2) Anger-How dare God do this to me, 3) Bargaining-Just ...view middle of the document...

From rest and sleep, which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
An soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery

Comments: Here, the speaker gives death the images of sleep and rest. He strongly believes that death cannot take anything but, instead, it gives rest and pleasurable sleep. Using sound logic, the speaker asserts that since death appears superficially to be merely a sleep, and sleep being a pleasurable thing, death must be even more pleasurable. Having deep and strong faith in God, he illustrates death as a rest- a process of wearing off the tiredness of this life and entering into a new life.

In the seventh and eighth lines, the speaker states that death does take people along but temporarily- just to rest their bones and release their souls. By the word “delivery” (8), he might mean transition of soul from this world to heaven.

Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
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?

Comments: In this stanza, the speaker reasons death and gives it proves not to be proud. He calls death a slave; a slave to fate, a slave to chance, a slave to kings and a slave to men who commit suicide. He claims that when fate and chance call upon death, it is there. When the kings want to slaughter a man, there comes death. Death is also...

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