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From your reading of a selection of poetry by poets pre 1900- post 1900, comment on their attitude and feelings towards the theme of death in at least two poems of your own choice. Compare and contrast these attitudes in your assignment.

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Introduction

From your reading of a selection of poetry by poets pre 1900- post 1900, comment on their attitude and feelings towards the theme of death in at least two poems of your own choice. Compare and contrast these attitudes in your assignment. Poets usually write about issues that effect human emotion. These issues include love, war death and fear. The poems can make us feel many different emotions such as cheerful, lively, depressed and sad etc. Poets do this to express their feelings and poems are an excellent way of expression. When a poem effects human emotion it helps us to understand it better and shows how the poet feels. In the poems 'Death be not proud' by John Donne and 'Funeral Blues' by WH Auden we see two very different views of death. John Donne's poem 'Death be not proud' we see how Donne rejects the fatalistic view that most people have of death. The theme of the poem is death and loss. The poem is a sonnet from the 16th century. A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem and is split into an octave and a sestet. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike the poem 'Death be not proud' the poem 'Funeral Blues' is written in the twentieth century and W.H. Auden has a different view of death to that of John Donne. Funeral Blues is the ninth in a series of twelve songs and it deals with the theme of loss and separation. It is an elegy on the death of a loved one and an intense public expression of grief. The poem was also included in the film 'Four weddings and a funeral' making it famous. The poem begins in a commanding tone with the word 'stop'. From the line 'Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone' We learn that the poet wishes to stop all the sound of everyday life that he would normally hear to be stopped. Throughout stanza one we see that every life has ended for W.H. Auden. The line 'Silence the pianos and with a muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come' Suggests that this is no normal day but is a special day. In stanza two the sense of grief becomes even more overwhelming and begins in a demanding tone with the line: 'Let aeroplane circles moaning over head Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead' The poet is demanding public recognition to the loss of a loved one. ...read more.

Conclusion

This explains his view of death. Also Donne was a clergy man and was not afraid of death, he believed death was only the start of eternal life, while Auden was an ordinary man form the twentieth century and due to scientific explanations he was not as believing as Donne. Auden's poetry reflects the spiritual interest of modern man in an increasingly complex society. In the twentieth century our concerns are more with the effect of death to those left behind. A wide industry of dealing with death has grown up in the form of councillors and hospices etc. As the poems were written in different times this affects the vocabulary. Donne's poem is written in old English and is very difficult to understand while Auden's poem is written in a more common vocabulary and is easier to understand. The theme of both poems is of loss and death but there is a huge difference in the attitudes of the poets. Auden appears to give up to the power of death but Donne believes that death is only thinks that it is mighty and dreadful e.g.: 'Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not soe' Donne believes that death is not what it seems and that death is the start of eternal life with God. ...read more.

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