Views of Death in W. H Auden’s Poem, Funeral Blues and John Donne’s Poem, Death Be not Proud”

Views of Death in W. H Auden’s Poem, Funeral Blues and John Donne’s Poem, Death Be not Proud”

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It is inevitable that one day all people must die. Death can come when a person wants it to come, but most of the time death comes when a person least expects it. The views of death range from culture to culture. Some people believe that death is the end of their journey here on earth, while other people believe that death is just a necessary step in their journey of their body and soul. W. H Auden’s poem titled “Funeral Blues” and John Donne’s poem titled “Death be not proud” gives one insight into both of those views or beliefs. Both poems talk of death; however, the meaning of death between the two varies significantly.
Both poems explain that death is unpleasant in the way that it comes, and when death does come, it does not come at any specific time. In Donne’s poem he writes that death “dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell” (“Death be not proud”10). These types of circumstances that he writes about do not come when one expects them, but can come when one least expects them. In Auden’s poem she demands to “stop all the clocks” (“Funeral Blues”1). It was not something planned for her or for anyone else. In her life, she wanted everything to stop because she was not ready for it. Death can claim anyone in any age of their lives. Death does not care if you are happy or sad but comes and takes what it wants and a person cannot do much to avoid it. James Talmage once stated that death is our, “universal heritage; it may claim its victim[s] in infancy or youth, [it may visit] in the period of life’s prime, or its summons may be deferred until the snows of age have gathered upon the … head; it may befall as the result of accident or disease, …or… through natural causes; but come it must (“Jesus the Christ” 3rd ed. (1916), 20...


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...not proud” 14). Death to Donne is not the victor in the end; nonetheless, the person that dies is ultimately the victor.
Both poems are written about death; however, the views of what death means to the two authors vary widely. To Auden, death is the end of everything in her life, and it should be the end of everything for everyone else. To Donne, death should be viewed as nothing big, but just a step stool in ones journey into the eternities. In the end, death claims all people and does not discriminate by age or race. Death can claim all in the peak or the most bottom of one’s life. Death can shatter people’s dreams. Death ultimately can be tragic. It affects all those who will step foot on this earth. Many people view death in these two different ways. One just needs to choose how he or she will view death and how it will apply to them in their everyday lives.

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