Term Paper: Gentle Into That Good Night

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¶ … gentle into that good Night" written by Dylan Thomas "Death Be Not Proud" John Donne

Comparing and Contrasting: John Donne's poem "Death be Not Proud" and Dylan Thomas' poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

John Donne's poem "Death be Not Proud" and Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" are not merely separated by many years of literary history. They are also separated fundamental ideological divide, that of a theological vs. A secular worldview of death. Both preach and define the correct ways human beings should strive to transcend what seems inevitable to human life, the fact that all humans will eventually die. But Donne takes comfort in the eternal life promised by his Christian faith, while Thomas can only beg his dying father to rage against the dying of the light that comes with death.

Donne's poem, unlike Thomas' poem is addressed to death itself, not to a specific dying person. As a result, Donne's poem is characterized by an intensely abstract and reasoned quality in structure and tone. Donne's poem is not merely a sonnet, but speaks of theoretical philosophical concepts like "Fate" and "Chance." Although he does mention himself in passing, noting "Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me," it is without emotion, by and large, and the poem takes full advantage of the logic of the sonnet, that introduces an idea in the first stanza that death merely makes a "picture" of the body because the believer's soul is eternal, and rationally presents an argument and examples to substantiate its thesis.

The fact that no 'real' or personalized dead people exist in the Donne poem make the poem's argument more persuasive to the reader, as the reader can evaluate the merit of Donne's argument as dispassionately as he or she can evaluate any argument about death in general, not the death of a person. Donne's absolute certainty in his theological views shines through, but in a seemingly rational manner. "One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, / and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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