What Is a Good Death?

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"Death be not proud'. And death shall be no more,', comma, "Death thou shalt die.' 'Nothing but a breath, a comma, separates life from life everlasting. With the original punctuation restored, death is a comma. A pause. In this way, one learns something from the poem, wouldn't you say? (Wit).'" These are lines from the renowned play Wit, when Vivian Bearing, the main character, learns John Donne's Holy Sonnet 10, but misses the meaning of the sonnet and the main idea that her professor emphasizes. John Donne did not even write this Holy Sonnet until he himself was near to death from typhoid fever. It was not until Vivian experienced the dying process for herself that she truly grasped the meaning behind John Donne's sonnet. Similarly, I believe that a true understanding of death, or better yet, a ‘good death’ does not fully come until you are faced with the dying process yourself. Even though I am not facing the dying process, I have an obscure outline of what I think I would value towards the end of my own life at this point in my life, which I will discuss first. Secondly, I will discuss what those with more expertise believe about what a ‘good death’ is. Lastly, I will show the importance of defining a ‘good death’ when dealing with effectively caring for the dying. Even though I can only speculate about what I consider to be a ‘good death’, I argue that a ‘good death’ is the form of death that most people would choose for themselves (including the authors from class) which is important because defining a ‘good death’ is the first step in understanding what value at the end of life to improve palliative care for those who do have a say in how they are treated at the end-of-life.
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