Describe and Compare the Theme of "Death" as Explained in "Death .
Be Not Proud" by John Donne and "Sonnet 71" by William Shakespeare.
The two poems provide a complete contrast as regard to "Death". Death Be Not Proud" is written by a Christian Minister (John Donne) and is therefore based on a religious theme, inclusive of the idea of an after life. The second poem however is written by William Shakespeare and is a secular poem, and deals with "Death" as a physical reality, which is unavoidable. Shakespeare writes more negatively and makes "Death" powerful, whereas "Death Be Not Proud" gives more hope and is written as if Death is a person, to make "Death" less powerful and mortal.
Through the entire poem, Donne speaks directly to Death. He personifies what to Man, has always been a spirit and has never been touched, seen or furthermore killed. He gives Death life (a person) and therefore makes it mortal, exposing it to pain, torment and eventually defeat.
In the first four lines of the poem, John Donne aggressively and directly addresses Death, his tone critical and belittling. He begins by saying, .
"Death be not proud for thou art not soe;" .
This openly challenges Death's authority and power. By referring to Death as a person, he makes it easier for the reader to bring Death down to a level of weakness and venerability, making death seem powerless.
Humans have always been like slaves to Death, running from it, and trying to prevent it. People have always tried to lead good lives in order to go to Heaven instead of Hell. They try to lead good lives so that GOD lets them stay on this great earth for a while longer.
In line 9, "Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men". .
The narrator goes against us being slaves to death and says that Death is a slave to fate, chance and us. Without fate nothing could be determined, therefore, our fate is truthfully what controls our lives and deaths.