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Death Be Not Proud

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 07:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69.5 
  • Words: 934
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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 let me live to see my son graduate, 4) Depression- I can\'t bear to face going through this, putting my family through this, and 5) Acceptance-I\'m ready, I don\'t want to struggle anymore (page number). Unlike many people, the speaker in this poem has a different attitude toward death, which is spiritual and insightful.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me

Comments: The speaker’s attitude toward death is entirely different from those of ordinary people. With confidence and solid reasons, he calls upon death not to be proud. He states that there are people who are afraid of death, but he is not among those. The speaker challenges death with confidence and that confidence erupts from his strong faith in God. His strong faith is felt when he bluntly declares that death cannot kill him; “Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me” (4). By the word, “me” he means his faith (4). He also calls death inferior; “poor Death” (4), which shows how superior his faith is and for such a strong faith, death means nothing but a mere sleep, as proved in the following stanza.


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