Themes in Death be not Proud

Making fun of death

Paul describes death as ‘the last enemy' 1 Corinthians 15:26. Usually the ‘death of death' is seen in Christian thinking in terms of the death and resurrection of Christ, as Paul presents it. But Donne strikes out in quite another direction. He confronts death and belittles it, in order to take away its ‘sting'. Death is seen as a boastful enemy (see Themes and signficant ideas > Death as friend or foe). Donne taunts it and in this way it loses its power in our imagination.

Investigating Death be not Proud
  • When you think about death and dying, what sort of emotions do you experience?
    • How is it possible to deal with the negative ones?
  • Do you think Donne is really that confident, or is this a piece of bravado, hiding a very real fear?
    • What evidence can you find?
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