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...
Cited: Donne, John. “Death, Be Not Proud.”
Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.”
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