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Death be not Proud: NBSE Class 12 Alternative English solutions

Death be not Proud poem

Get notes, questions, answers, notes, solutions, summary, MCQs, PDF of the poem “Death be not Proud” by John Donne which is a part of NBSE Class 12 Alternative English syllabus.

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Answer the following questions briefly.

1. Who is the poet addressing in the poem? 

Answer: The poet is addressing Death in the poem.

2. What do people think of death according to the poet?

Answer: According to the poet, people think of death as mighty and terrifying, something that frightens their imaginations and thoughts. They believe that death is a tremendous force that terminates everything in a human’s life.

3. Why is the poet not afraid of death?

Answer: John Donne, the poet, is not terrified of death since he believes that when individuals die, they are only dead for a brief period and that their souls live on in the afterlife alongside all other spirits in heaven. As a result, he argues that death cannot kill him.

4. Give an example of the use of paradox in the poem.

Answer: The poet employs the paradox of death by questioning its traditional portrayal as man’s indomitable conqueror, claiming that it provides greater relief and pleasure than rest and sleep. It also offers “Souls’ delivery,” which is a release into a tranquil eternity.

5. How does death set a man free?

Answer: When a man transitions from a physical being to a spiritual being, he becomes free. Where he shall live forever. He transcends into the joys of an eternal afterlife, free of the tragedies, conflicts, and afflictions of earthly life.

Explain the following lines with reference to the context.

1. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,

a. Why does the poet call death a slave?

Answer: Death does not select its victims because sickness and accident determine who dies. Because death lacks the ability to choose, the poet referred to it as a “slave.”

b. Which two activities produce the same effect as death?

Answer: The two activities that produce the same effect as death are ‘fate’ and ‘chance’.

2. And better than thy stroke; why swell’s thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

a. What does the poet mean by ‘why swell’s though then?’

Answer: These lines are taken from the poem “Death be not Proud,” written by John  Donne. The poet is here contemplating death’s destructive force. Death is compared by the poet to a range of powers that take lives on their own volition, such as fate, chance, monarchs, and desperate individuals. Even in terms of rest, death is inferior to medications.

b. What is the Christian theme being indicated with ‘we wake eternally’?

Answer: The line “We Wake Externally” by poet John Donne alludes to a man’s victory after death, where his physical existence transcends to the spiritual being as a living soul, sparking the commencement of a new kind of existence.

The poet suggests a Christian motif here, as Christians believe in life after death and equate death to a brief slumber from which they will arise to live eternally in heaven. He encourages his readers to be brave in the face of death since it is a path to our true self of living forever away from the hardships, worries, and misery of this physical world. He signifies the long-term triumph over the transient, monosyllabic death. Donne has launched a powerful rhetorical attack on death’s invincibility while also declaring his faith in the eternal afterlife’s joys that would transcend the miseries of earthly existence.

Answer the following questions in detail.

1. Why does the poet feel that death is arrogant? How does he belittle this arrogance?

Answer: To manage the emotional feelings linked with a discussion of death, John Donne personifies death in ‘Death be not proud’ and proceeds to disparage it because, while some may think that death is mighty and dreadful, he maintains that “Thou art not such.” Death, personified, is pompous because it believes death is the end of existence, but Donne tells out that it is simply a “brief sleep.” Death cannot defeat man, therefore Donne asks why it feels as though it has accomplished anything when our best men with thee depart, because after they die, their bones simply rest.

Death’s arrogance as it thinks ‘thou dost overthrow’ is unacceptable to Donne, because death is actually the entity that is beaten and vanquished every time. It is nothing more than a transition, and while everyone must die, we wake eternally and thus are no longer dead, proving that it is death that will die.

2. Discuss the central theme of the poem.

Answer: The central theme of the poem is death’s powerlessness, with Donne describing death as a doorway to endless life, rather than something ‘mighty and horrible’ as some may assume. According to John Donne, death only delivers the noblest men to a condition of great joy “as well as “soul’s delivery.” In essence, he is reminding death that it has no reason to gloat or be “proud.” “because it is not the ominous, terrifying entity it portrays itself to be. Death, according to Donne, has no reason to be proud because its authority is an illusion, and its rule is fading. It is “no more” once it has served its goal of transferring its victims out of worldly existence, having been overwhelmed by eternal life.

3. And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.Explain the significance of the line.

Answer: The line is taken from John Donne’s poem “Death be not Proud.” The given line represents the defeat of death itself, which is seen as all-powerful and horrible, and is feared by mankind. The poem opens with death personified as an individual who ends everything, but the poet compares it to other characters and powers and demonstrates his fearlessness towards death, suggesting that it is just a short slumber and more like a passage into one’s eternal existence.

According to the poet, when death has done its work on man, it is the end of itself, for man will no longer die, but will be transcended to a spiritual being free of the miseries of earthly physical life. In some ways, going through death is a happy experience because man will enter his true purpose of living eternally in heaven free of all miseries. Death itself becomes the final terror for man, where he no longer feels it.

4. In the poem, death is represented as a lowly figure keeping company with poison, war, and sickness. What does the poet imply by this?

Answer: Donne depicts the figure of death, which has lost its mighty and frightening appearance due to poison, war, and sickness, and where endless life beyond death has overshadowed the terrifying element of death. Donne urges death not to be proud, even though he has been given great names, for even if death has taken many lives, it does not mean that he has won, nor among the lives of people, because their souls will have eternal life. The end of mortal life or the claim of death by battle, poison, or sickness will have eternal life because their death is transient and can be induced by pharmaceuticals as well. As a result, Donne claims that death is neither great nor horrible. Death, on the other hand, is a slave to fate, chance, and monarchs since death can only take away men’s lives when fate or chance allow it, when kings declare war, or when sickness or poison kills them. Donne even goes so far as to term death “poor death,” because it is little compared to the recompense obtained in the afterlife, where death will be no more.

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1 thought on “Death be not Proud by John Donne”

  1. Death itself is slave of poppy, accident, cancer, poison , deceases like the, sugar, heart failure, . Death is great sleep, rest the physical of human body .the death is slave .

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