“Death be Not Proud” by John Donne Literature Analysis Essay

Haven’t Found The Relevant Content? Hire a Subject Expert to Help You With
“Death be Not Proud” by John Donne Literature Analysis Essay
Post Your Own Question And Get A Custom Answer
Hire Writer

Introduction to the poem

The poem ‘Death be not proud’ is an attack against death and the fear of dying. The author calls individuals to take on death even though it seems to be a very strong thing. Furthermore, the author asserts that death does not cause man to stop existing; instead, death merely gives a person’s body a chance to rest. The soul continues to live on in the afterlife.

The poem was written by a seventeen year old boy called John Donne and was addressed to a friend who had passed away. The poet believes that death is inevitable so people should not be afraid if it. To the author, it was an avenue for getting into heaven where he would enjoy eternal life. The poem is metaphysical in nature because the author relies on complex images to compare death to a person.

Information about the poem

The poet was a young man who had endured so much during his short life. Doctors had diagnosed him with a brain tumor in the last fifteen months of his life. Johnny had a strong will to live and faced his troubles and tribulations quite courageously. Johnny was always an intelligent and selfless boy throughout his childhood.

However, his fate changed after he started experiencing a stiff neck. When he went back to school, the administrators recommended a medical examination that discovered the brain tumor. John went through his first operation when the specialists removed a portion of the tumor. However, the tumor transformed after some time and kept worsening. The doctors told John that it would paralyze him, cause him blindness and eventually death (Gunther 162).

John was determined to graduate from high school and join Harvard. However, his condition did not improve. He busied himself with lots of activities at home, and kept doing school work. Later on, Johnny tried mustard gas treatment and a new diet that purported to heal tumors. However, the tumor began to leak and he had to go for surgery.

The doctors carried out some procedures and allowed his release. Eventually, he got back home and continued with his school work. He even attended his high school graduation despite his dilapidating condition. Johnny eventually developed a hemorrhage in his brain and went to hospital. He died in hospital after futile attempts to save his life. The young man wrote a lot about his experiences, but one of the most heartfelt pieces is the poem under analysis.


The poem’s persona is the poet himself. He wanted to talk about his perception of death and framed the poem in a way that seemed like he was talking to death. In the fourth line of the poem, the poet says: “Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst though kill me” (Donne 4). He is, therefore, the reference point of the discussion. All the things he says about death are his opinions concerning it.

The poem takes a cynical tone (San Juan 3). The author calls death a number of names that contribute towards this effect. For instance, he says ‘Poor death’. It is almost as if the poet intended on humiliating death. He rejects the strong traits that many people use to describe death and asserts that this is a misconception. Additionally, the poet also calls death a ‘slave’ to indicate how he despises or is unafraid of death. This tone is also evident from the title of the poem, which indicates that the person in the poem scorns death.

The poem utilizes an Italian rhyme scheme that goes as follows: ABBA then ABBA then CDDC and finally EE. He has a variable meter in the poem, although one may argue that he uses the iambic pentameter, especially in the fifth to seventh lines of the poem. In these lines, the words that stand out include rest, slept, but, pic (from pictures). In the next line, the words that contribute to the meter include plea (from pleasure), then, thee, more, and flow. In the seventh line, the words that stand out are soon, our, men, thee and go.

The poem employs alliterations; in the third line, the alliteration stems from the use of ‘th’ in those, thou, thinks, and though. In the next line, the poet uses alliteration through letter ‘d’ in die and death. In the sixth line, the poet uses the letter ‘m’ in much, more, and must (Jordan 15).


In the first line, the author starts with an attacking note. He downplays death’s strengths and notes that some people call death powerful. In the second line, the author continues with his attacks by saying that it is a misconception to think that death is indeed powerful. In the third line, the author says that death may take away people’s lives, but this does not mean that it actually conquers them. In the forth line, the author adds a personal touch to his assertions by talking directly to death. He affirms that death cannot overcome him.

In the fifth line, the poet likens death to sleep so it does not lead to much difficulty or pain. In the sixth line, he explains that death actually leads to pleasure. In the seventh line, he notes that death tends to take people that are quite important to humankind. However, death has no power to carry their souls and their bones (in line eight).

In the ninth and tenth lines, the author claims that death is a servant to all end-of-life events like illness and war. In the eleventh and twelfth lines, he mocks death by comparing its effects to the same effects that charm and poppy create. Death, therefore, is not exceptional. In the thirteenth line, the poet mentions the after-life where one awakens after death. Consequently, death is not the final blow. In the last line, the author says that in the eternal life, death loses all its power and thus dies.

Analysis of metaphor, simile, personification, symbolism

The author uses a metaphor in the poem when he says that “Thou art slave to fate’. He compares death to a servant because it is not a final decision maker; it only comes when these events occur. Therefore, death has no control. The author also uses personification because in the last line he asserts: “Death, thou shalt die” (Donne 14). Additionally, in the first line, he says “Death, be not proud’ (Done 1). He is giving death qualities of a person and thus personifies it.

How I can incorporate the poem in my life

The poet wrote this poem when he was still a boy. After learning this, I realized that one can be courageous even in the most unlikely circumstances. However, the most important lesson that I have learned from the poem was that fear of death is unfounded. Since death leads to the same effects that other objects, like charms and poppy do, then one should not be afraid of it.

I have learnt to live each day as it comes, but to embrace death if it shows up. The poem has also taught me how to be open up about death. In the past, I was afraid of even mentioning this word. I thought that it would offend people, however; after seeing the level of openness that John has in confronting this difficult topic, I have realized that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Works Cited

Donne, John. “Death Be Not Proud”. Elite skills classic. 2011.

Gunther, John. Death be not proud. Chicago: Perennial Modern Classics, 1998. Print.

Jordan, Tonia. “Alliteration, consonance and assonance”. Ezine articles.

San Juan, Ray. “Glossary of poetic terms”. Tripod. 2011.

Why Hire a Professional Essay Writer from MyHomeworkGeeks

Quality Urgent Essays

Domyhomeworkk online platform provides the best essay writing service ever received elsewhere, thanks to our professional essay writers. Experience gained in the 10+ years of being in the assignment writing industry is also an added advantage.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

A lot is done to maintain us as the best essay writing service provider. Besides owning a degree from a recognized university, a writer must pass the rigorous tests we take them through before they are considered eligible to offer urgent essay help on our website.

Affordable Urgent Assignment Help

Who said a reliable website should not be cheap also? While it is human nature to associate prices with quality, that does not always work. At domyhomeworkk.com, we guarantee you cheap and urgent essay help without compromising the quality.

24/7 Available Urgent Essay Writing Service

Whether it is a ‘write my essay for me cheap’ or ‘edit my essay’ order you want to request, always feel free to reach us at any time of the day. Our experts work in shifts to ensure that you access urgent essay writing services at any time of the day.

Plagiarism Free Essays Online

The punitive measures that come with plagiarized content are so harsh, and we understand that. We consequently ensure to write each client’s papers from scratch no matter how urgent the essay is. To acknowledge borrowed content, our quick writer references and cites the work.

Wow Customer Support 24/7

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

So much stress and so little time? Take care of yourself: let us help you with your tasks. We offer all kinds of writing services.


Custom Essay Writing Services

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.


Admission and Business Papers

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.


Editing and Proofreading

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.


Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

Have a homework question? Get help from verified tutors now!

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes