Who is Mr. Death in Fences?

Mr. Death is a symbol of the hardships and struggles that Troy Maxson has faced and conquered in his life. Troy has beaten Death once and vows to do so again and again. He will keep on fighting through life, no matter what it throws at him.

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In August Wison's play Fences, Mr. Death is a symbol of the struggles Troy Maxson has experienced throughout his life and of his commitment to keep on fighting no matter how hard times get or how much he suffers.

When Rose tells Troy that he is going to drink himself to death, Troy responds, "Death ain't nothing." He has seen Death and "wrassled with him." Death is just "a fastball on the outside corner." Troy has faced Death and met him, even beaten him. Death can't keep Troy Maxson down. Death is something to be faced and conquered, at least according to Troy.

Yet Troy realizes that someday he will die. Everybody dies, he knows. Yet he will fight all the way out, and for a while, he will win. He has before. He remembers July of 1941. "The Army of Death was marching straight at me," he says. "It seem like Death himself reached out and touched me on the shoulder." And Death grinned. But Death didn't get Troy then. Troy faced him and wrestled with him and beat him.

Rose recalls that this was the time when Troy was in the hospital with pneumonia and nearly died. Troy withstood that trial and made his way through that suffering. But Death told Troy that he would be back for him another time. Troy responded that Death would have to find him first. "I ain't going easy," he declares. He will be vigilant and fight again if he must. He is strong, and no matter what life or death throws at him, he will keep on going.

Death, of course, does get Troy in the end, and he takes him suddenly. Troy is swinging his baseball bat in the yard when he drops over from a heart attack. Death has caught up with him at last, and Troy actually does go easily, no matter how much he may have wanted to fight.

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