Death Be Not Proud, To an Athlete Dying Young - Poems Analysis

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Vanderbilt University
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Donne, J., & Adcock, F. (2004). 'Death Be Not Proud.' ProQuest LLC.

The poem starts with the speaker speaking ill of Death who the speaker has personified. The speaker addresses death and says that death should not be proud since he is not as strong, and scary as the other people take him and address this topic in fear. As the speaker progresses on, he starts introducing contradiction of how death is seen. The speaker says that people do not know di when they meet death and neither will he-the speaker when he meets death. The speaker makes his point by comparing death to rest and sleep a thing no one fears. Anyone is always comfortable sleeping and resting. This sort of comparison completely depicts ow we people see death, a normal thing we all do and no one fears it at all. The speaker claims only the good die young and has an explanation to this that only the best people who happen to be the good, know that the death brings a new side of life with pleasures but not pain. The speaker takes his understanding to another level of what death is and refers to Death as a slave. As well as accuse death of association with social evils and low lives such as war, sickness, and poison. The speaker also shows how death can be substituted by other things such as taking drugs which will yield the same results as death which is falling asleep. The speaker also addresses death in a religious perspective and borrows the ideas of eternity after death from the Christian believes where speaker refers to death as a short sleep and then eternity where death no dies forever.

Housman, A. E. (1896). To an athlete dying young. Willams O, ed. Modern British Poetry.

The speaker of the poems starts the poem with the good times of the young athlete, the speaker remembers the time when the athlete won the big race and back in town after arriving he was carried all over the town with joy but this happy moment does not last long immediately in the second stanza the speaker hits us with a funeral of the young athlete. This lowers the cheerful feeling the poem starts with, and we have to embrace the path of life where one has to live the land of the living to the land of the dead as per the speaker. From this point the speaker talks of the advantages of dying young although this leaves the reader thinking whether the poem is clearly addressing the issue on the right side of the situation or does the reader oppose the speakers views. As per the reader the athlete dying young, he has dodged the bullet of disappointing the crowds that believe in him since he would not have won all the races hence death come to him to save him from such moments. The speaker keeps seeing the good side of death as he goes on to see that as the athlete closes his eyes to death that he does not have to see his record broken. By the end of the poem, the reader is confused whether death is a bad or good thing.



Donne, J., & Adcock, F. (2004). 'Death be Not Proud'. ProQuest LLC.

Housman, A. E. (1896). To an athlete dying young. Willams O, ed. Modern British Poetry.


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