Analysis of a Poem "Death, Be Not Proud

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Analysis of a Poem “Death, be not proud”

The poem, “Death, be not proud,” dramatizes how death, yet as harmful and scary as can be, may also be the most harmless thing in the world. The speaker starts off by stating, “Death, be not proud for though have called the Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so” (1-2). One man, mocking death, whether it be a person or a religious figure, and stating that even though death may take anything and everything at any moment, it still brings him no harm; “Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst though kill me” (4). With all of Death’s negative attributes, is it really even as harmful as some have come to believe? After describing all of the ways Death may come into one’s life and take everything from them, the speaker still stands strong. Death, being as cruel as the speaker sets Death to be, may have taken something from the speaker and left him with only hate and resent. An ever-lasting desire for an answer perhaps. “And dost with poison, war, sickness dwell; And poppy or charms can make us sleep just as well And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?” (10-12). Yet after all the ways Death may come into peoples lives and leave them in self ruin, one must remember that Death is only Death, “And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die” (13-14).

However, the speaker does give strong support to all of Death’s other qualities. Taking people, the thing Death does best, “and soon our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and souls delivery” (5-6). Soldiers of war are subjected to nothing but death day in and day out. As they lie there on the battlefield, wounded or deceased, their bones lay, and their souls go off to rest for eternity.

Does Death in fact follow a pattern? A specific way of performing certain undesirable deeds? As the speaker tells of all the things accompanied with Death, “Thou art a slave to fate, chance, king, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell” (9-10)....
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