Comparing Death in Do not go gentle into that good night and Death Be Not Proud

923 Words4 Pages
Death in Do not go gentle into that good night and Death Be Not Proud The poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "Death Be Not Proud" both deal with the subject of death. These poems seem to have contradictory messages about death, yet at the same time have similar attitudes toward it. "Death Be Not Proud" talks about how death really has no power over people, while "Do not go gentle into that good night" says that it is part of human nature to fight against death. Both "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "Death Be Not Proud" see death as an opponent; however, one sees it as an adversary that is already defeated while the other sees it as an enemy that must be defeated. In "Death Be Not Proud" Donne says "those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow / Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me"(lines 3-4). This passage shows Donne's belief that people will always overcome death. In Thomas' poem, he writes "Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright / Their frail deeds might have danced in the green bay, / Rage, rage against the dying of the light" (7-9). Even the "good men" are in the end defeated by death according to Thomas. The tone of both of these poems is one of resentment towards death, although in dissimilar ways. In "Death Be Not Proud" Donne hates death because it thinks it has power over humans and in his opinion just the opposite is true. Donne says that death is a "slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men." (9). He thinks death has no reason to be proud because he relies on these things for its power, so really people have power over death. Thomas feels almost the opposite, though. He sees death as having power over people, and is saying that people do not ... ... middle of paper ... ...is father do the same. Although "Death Be Not Proud" is seemingly directed at the personification of death, it seems like it could also be directed at the people who treat death like it is "Mighty and dreadful" (2). He wants to get this message across to those that fear and respect death that death is controlled by people, not the other way around. These two poems can each be summed up by one line from each. In "Do not go gentle into that good night" the main point of the poem is "Old age should burn and rave at the close of day" (2), and in "Death Be Not Proud," "death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die" (14). When one looks at these two lines, the essence of these two poets disagreement on death is typified. Thomas believes one should "not go gentle into that good night," while Donne believes death is the "Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery" (8).

More about Comparing Death in Do not go gentle into that good night and Death Be Not Proud

Open Document