“Death Not Be proud” is a poem that addresses a social and psychological problem in the society. The poem attacks death from both a spiritual and secular angle. The first major part of the poem relies on the secular angle where, no believes are attached. This is the belief held by both Christians and non-Christians. On the other side, the last lines of the poem are based on the concept of Christian belief. This pertains to Christians’ belief of eternal life where there will be no more death; this is to say that death will have no dominion. Christians believe that death is a gateway to a better life.
The title of the poem “Death not be proud” is also a major theme in the poem. The narrator who is the writer of the poem has personified death; he is addressing death as a living person. The narrator being a churchman seems fed up with death’s cruelty in taking people. Personification is a form of a metaphor used in poetry that the narrator uses to refer to death. His thesis is to prove to death of how powerless it is. He uses all means to prove that it is less threatening than it may seem. In addressing death, the narrator’s major aim is to encourage the reader not to fear death. This means that death is less powerful than people perceive it. The narrator throws several questions to death. He feels so disappointed by death in the way it takes so many even the poor. The narrator attacks death by posing challenging questions. Additionally, he warns death of his pride. He gives death an assurance that even though many have adored him and called him might and powerful, he shall surely die and be no more. He undermines death as a low slave that depends on fate. Death is not able to kill independently; he must depend on such things as diseases, murder, and wars.
The poem begins with an ironic tone. In the second line of the poem, the narrator argues that death is mighty and dreadful. However, he warns death for being proud. In the ninth line, death is a slave to fate. He believes that death has no power over humans it just acts from the command of sicknesses, murder, and war. It is ironical that death has no power, yet he can take the best men. Death is declared defeated in the first lines of the poem yet it takes life. This tone shifts at the end of the poem to a satirical tone. The narrator mocks death because at the end, it will be defeated. Death will be no more since it will die. People will overcome death and live eternally.
The structure of the poem in using punctuation provides pauses that are adopted in reading the poem aloud. Shortening the words gives the work a poetic taste. The poem uses alliterations that make the poem enjoyable and have a poetic form. Alliteration is done in some lines such as line four, six, and thirteen. Additionally, there is the use of paradox in the poem. The narrator mockery on death and telling it that it shall die employs sarcasm. He also challenges death by declaring to it that it shall perish.
In conclusion, the thesis of this poem is to prove that death is not something that should cause panic. Death is powerless and has no control but is a slave of fate. The narrator believes that, though frightening to many, death should not be a cause of alarm. Death will perish and be no more while people shall receive eternal life.