Death, be not proud by John Donne

Start Your Free Trial

What is the subject matter of the poem Death, Be Not Proud by John Donne?

Expert Answers info

Baby Gorczany eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookB.A. from University of the Western Cape, South Africa


calendarEducator since 2014

write1,244 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The poem makes a mockery of the belief that Death is all powerful and consuming by firstly addressing it as human (personification) and then criticizing its arrogance. The speaker states that Death should not be boastful about the fact that it has been called "mighty and dreadful" by some, for it is not. The speaker contends that Death's belief that it has ruined life is not true and that it cannot overcome him.  

The speaker belittles Death by equating the images of "rest and sleep" to the likeness presented by Death. Such rest and sleep bring comfort and peace much as Death does when it removes the greatest and most respected individuals from their physical state. All Death does, then, is to deliver their souls to a place of eternal rest. The speaker mentions that Death has to do much more to claim its status as the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 450 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write6,896 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial