Essay on Death Is Not Proud, By John Donne

Essay on Death Is Not Proud, By John Donne

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Everyone is going to die; it is a fact of life. Every living thing on this planet will cease to exist at one point or another. John Donne, Walt Whitman, and Mary Oliver all acknowledge this fact in their poetry, but they go beyond the reality of the situation. In “Death Be Not Proud”, John Donne tells Death that it is a slave and eventually it will not be needed. Walt Whitman says that death does not exist and the soul is immortal in “Song of Myself”. Lastly, in “When Death Comes” Oliver describes a vision of life to avoid fearing death. Although everyone dies, death is not powerful or something to be feared because the soul lives forever. Death is not authoritative or compelling; it is a slave to mankind. Drugs and medicine make humans sleep as well as Death. It only has control over the human body, which disintegrates, but it cannot harm the soul. Those who are dead are actually alive and well somewhere. Death is not awe-inspiring; it is weak and powerless. Death follows life, but living a prosperous life will guarantee happiness and contentment.
Even though everyone dies, Death is not to be feared because it is not powerful. Death claims everyone and “soonest our best men with three do go” (Donne). Men, women, and children all go with death eventually, but Death should not be feared. Death is an apostrophe in “Death Be Not Proud”, meaning it is being addressed to as a person. It may claim those around us, but it is not fearsome, as the narrator says, “Death, be not proud/…thou art not so [mighty and dreadful]” (Donne). Donne continues insulting Death, becoming more hostile and aggressive towards Death. The narrator implies that Death has no free will; that he has to serve mankind. He says “Thou [death] art slave to fate, chan...


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...not a formidable force because the soul cannot die. Death is not powerful and in the end of time, it will fade out because humans have eternal life. Furthermore, death is a slave. It has no real power to choose who is going to die. By depreciating death, Donne is reaffirming that death is nothing to be apprehensive about. He considers Death a long slumber and when the dead wake, Death will be no more. Whitman argues that although death claims our bodies, it cannot claim our souls. When we die, our bodies become part of nature. The old and the young are all going to be a part of the earth eventually. Their bodies provide life to other creatures and their souls live forever. The soul cannot be claimed by death. According to Oliver, the way to accept death is to lead a meaningful life. Everyone dies, but death is not frightening because it cannot affect the human soul.

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