Comparing Death In the two poems “Death, Be Not Proud,” by John Donne and “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” by Dylan Thomas both deal with the issue of death, yet in different ways. The theme of each one of these poems is the subject of death. Each author chooses to tackle this difficult topic head on, but they do so in different styles. Like day and night the mood in each poem is in total contrast to each other. Although the tone is totally different in each poem, the theme of death is accepted in each as well. In the first poem, “Death, Be Not Proud,” Donne describes death as a lowly figure that deserves no respect at all. That no one is afraid of death, but welcomes it as it brings us a satisfying state of everlasting sleep. It is just one aspect of life and something that everyone must experience. Donne even goes so far as to say that there are things other than death that make us sleep just as well, if not better, as stated in the line “And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well. ” In the end we will actually defeat death itself when we pass over into eternal life and there will be no more death, “And death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die! ” He feels sorry for death because it will be what is ultimately dead and not us. The overall theme of this poem is to embrace death and not be afraid of it. In the second poem, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” Thomas displays a completely opposite viewpoint to describe death. He describes death as something that should be feared and fought against. He prays his father to hold on to the bitter end and do not give into his death. That indeed death is something that we need to be afraid of. It is a rallying cry against death, that to give up is the coward’s way. The idea of impending death gives us new insight into life, so fight through this death so that you can live your life with renewed strength. Thomas illustrated this point in the following line, “Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight. ” The overall theme of this poem is that death is something to fear, that we should fight against it at all cost. That you should not just give up easily. Although the overall themes of each poem are different, the subject is the same in both. Each author uses imagery and metaphors to bring the concept of death to life. In “Death, Be Not Proud,” Donne directly addresses death as if it were a person and not a thing. He personifies death so that he can discredit it. He makes us see death in terms of person in order for us to be able to relate to it. In, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” Thomas also personifies death, but for a different reason. His point is that death is to be feared and that we can relate to this better by seeing death as a person and the fear that it creates. In conclusion, the two poems described here, “Death, Be Not Proud,” by John Donne and “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” by Dylan Thomas are both poems that deal with the subject of death though in complete different ways. This shows how two authors can take an idea that everyone knows about, such as death, and describe it in two completely different ways, yet each in a way that they demonstrate death and describes it in terms of a person. With Donne saying not to be afraid of death and that it has no control over us. In fact it should be afraid of us because in the end it is death that dies as we enter over into eternal life. While Thomas takes the opposite approach and states that we are to indeed fear death and fight it to the end with every bit of strength that we have. These two poems present and interesting study in the contrast and comparison of two similar, yet different works of poetry. By studying the ways that the two authors approach each individual work of art, we can gain valuable insight into the mindset of each man. It is interesting to see how each author views and deals with the concept of death and how their individual courses of life guided them to their own views that appear in their poems. Works Cited Donne, John. “Death, Be Not Proud. ” Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night. ”
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