This essay seeks to analyze, compare, and contrast the main poetic techniques, such as metaphors and dictions, in the poems of different poets. This essay also seeks to analyze the background of the poets, who originate from different geographical and social backgrounds. In addition, the essay will analyze the social, political, religious, and personal backgrounds of the particular poets that directly reflect the themes of their poetry.
Poetry about death
Death is a very sensitive topic that most poets have avoided since the Victorian times up to date. However, some poets had courage and the power of will to write poems about death. John Donne was one of the courageous poets from the Renaissance period who dared to write poetry about death. Donne wrote many poems on this delicate subject, one of which was “Death Be not Proud” This poem was written in the year 1618, as a part of the collection of poems, which is known as “The Holy Sonnets”. It is important to note that the phrase “death be nor proud” is a very strong statement and declaration against the power of death in the lives of many people (Ferris 283). In this poem, death is given a personality of a general, who is powerless and has no power to rule. The poem attempts to change the perception of death as a strange thing or event to be feared and avoided mentioning in many societies. It presents death as an event that is irrelevant and not that serious. This poem does not divert from the structural outlook of the adherence to the sonnet form. Note that the sonnet form can be defined as a poem that follows the structures of the rhythm scheme, which is very important in the structure of all poems of the same nature.
Concerning the death aspect, the poet has courage to attack death from different angles. At first, the poet attacks death from a secular angle. This is evident because the first twelve lines of the poem talk about secular issues, and do not contain or have any religious attributes of any kind. The poet ensured that non-Christians could also follow the arguments outlined in the first part of the poem. The other angle that the poet attacks death from is the religious one. The last two lines in the poem are written from the perspective of the Christians, and can be understood only by the Christians. The poet mocks death in his poem; he writes “…die not, poor death.” This phrase helps to diminish the strength of death in the poem. Additionally, in the phrase “…from rest and sleep which by the future be much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,” (5th & 6th line, “Death Be not Proud”), the poet describes death as being asleep. In his poem, the poet portrays sleep as pleasure, and thus states that death is a pleasurable thing.
In the first part of the poem, the poet uses a mocking approach; however, in the next part of the poem, he turns to the use of external influences. In this part of the poem, the poet describes death as a slave, which must and should respect the wishes of its master. In the final part of the poem, namely the last two lines, the poet displays a convincing and powerful argument against the nature effect and fortitude of death. In regard to the Christian policy, the poet portrays hope. In this case, hope represents eternal life, a kind of escape, gateway from the effects and power of death (Ceri 345)
The poem “Do not Go Gentle on the Good Night” is a poem that also speaks about death; however, not in the same context as used by Donne in his poem, “Death Be not Proud”. This poem was written by Dylan Thomas in the year 1953. The poem is classified as a piece of modern writing, and is one of the fine works by Dylan Thomas. It is important to note that the poem has no specific title. In this case, the first line appears to be the title of the whole poem. The other common and popular line is “Rage, rage against the good night.” These two lines are repeated for several times in the poem. At a very young age, Dylan watched his father die a slow and painful death. In his poem, Dylan Thomas tries to speak to his father and convince him to fight against the power of death. He uses diction to address his father and give him examples of well-known men who died during that period. This poem is quite different in context from the poem “Death Be not Proud”. The difference comes from the fact that John Donne uses an approach that mocks death and diminishes the power of death, while Dylan Thomas speaks about the fear of powerful death. Dylan Thomas is convinced that there is very little difference between death and life. On the other hand, John Donne stripes death of all its power, and brings out eternal life as an escape route from the pestilence of death. In this poem, many emotions are brought out with diction. These emotions include; frustration, courage, grief, and strength (Donne 456).
How does the poetry reflect the poet’s political, social, religious and personal background?
The poetry in this case reflects greatly the personal, social, political, personal, and religious lives of the poets. Dylan Thomas has definitely enjoyed fame in the poetry world. However, the poem “Do not Go Gentle to the Good Night” was written under influence of slow and painful death of the poet’s father. Dylan wrote the poem at a time when his father was very ill. In the poem he attempts to convince his father to be brave and fight against death. He seems to be very scared of death, and is very concerned about the slight differences between life and death. His personal life had a great impact and reflected greatly in this particular poem. On the other hand, John Donne works and poems stood out against other poems because of sensual and strong language that is used in his poem. The poet uses innovative diction, metaphors, and unique language to bring out vibrancy in the poem. He has become a kind of critic, because of his personal, social, political, and religious views. This simply means that John Donne was a religious person and believed in life after death. In this particular poem, in the two last lines, he speaks about life after death. It is important to note that John Donne also served in the Parliament in 1601-1614. His criticism emerged during the years of his service in the Parliament, and was evident in his poems. In the year 1615, he became an Anglican priest. These aspects have had a great influence in the context of his poems. This simply means that his personal, religious, and social life was reflected in his poetry and some other works (Thomas 14).
This paper has outlined, discussed, and analyzed death as a major issue in the poems of the two authors. It has also analyzed two different poems from these poets. The essay has also tried to research the biography of different poets who represent different social and geographical backgrounds.