Death, Be Not Proud Summary Notes

About the Author

John Donne was 17th century Metaphysical poet, who wrote extensively on love, religion and other subjects based on his experiences of life, people and society. As a cleric in the Church of England, he theorises his religious beliefs, the worldly life and life after death. His poetry with strong and sensual expressions conveys the massage with striking influence on the readers.

Death, Be Not Proud Summary

The poem “Death Be Not Proud” is penned by John Donne, who was a metaphysical poet. In the poem, the poet has personified “Death” and presents an argument against the power of death. The poet believes that Death has nothing to be proud about and warns Death against pride in his power although some people have called Death as “mighty and dreadful”. Such power is merely an illusion.

The poet argues that the people whom Death thinks that he has claimed do not actually die. The poet poses a challenge to Death and says that Death cannot claim his life, because the poet is yet to derive “much pleasure” from “rest and sleep”.

Here the poet compares rest and sleep to ‘thy pictures” – the other images of Death. The poet argues that people derive a great pleasure from rest and sleep and more of such pleasure is yet to be enjoyed by people. Sooner or later death will claim the lives of people, but the fact is that Death brings a much earned rest, “Rest to their bones, and soul’s delivery”. This ‘Death’ will relieve people of this earth from their worldly troubles and travails and deliver their souls to God. The poet criticizes Death for being a slave to other forces such as fate, chance, kings and desperate men.

(It is a fact that some people are destined to die at a very young age or accidently. Some are put to death by kings and some are murdered by desperate men) Death “dwells” in such places where poison, war and sickness “dwell”.

Death lays a false claim that it has taken the lives of people who have lost their lives being poisoned, killed in war and from sickness. But in fact it is a slave to these forces and does not have any control over these forces. The poet ridicules Death that “poppy” – drugs and “charms” – Spells, can induce a much better sleep than the one that death can induce.

The poet concludes his argument by questioning Death, ‘Why does death make such tall claims in its false pride?’ It’s because, after one short sleep (after death) people of this earth will ultimately be resurrected eternally in God’s Paradise. At the end of the poem the poet predicts the end of Death itself by declaring “Death, thou shalt die”.

Death is regularly personified in poetry and in John Donne’s ‘Death Be Not Proud’ an apostrophe (a form of personification) is used as the poem addresses Death itself. Death fascinates humankind and Donne wants to break down the all-powerful image of death as a victor and as having the last say. He wants readers to understand that death is only the beginning of another phase and needs to be viewed that way so as to prevent death from consuming all rational thought.

Death, Be Not Proud Glossary

  • Dreadful : causing fear
  • Overthrow : defeat, bring down
  • Soul’s delivery : rebirth of soul after death
  • Stroke : touch gently with affection
  • Pictures : (here) forms
  • C harms : of magic

Death, Be Not Proud Questions And Answers

Comprehension

I. Answer the following questions in one or two sentences:

Question 1.
What is the caution of the poet to death?
Answer:
The poet caution Death, not to be proud thinking that it is mighty and dreadful.

Question 2.
Why does he address death as ‘poor’?
Answer:
The poet addresses death as ‘poor’ because the people whom Death thinks that he has claimed do not actually die and Death can¬not claim his life, because the poet is yet to derive ‘Much pleasure’ from ‘rest and sleep’.

Question 3.
What is death compared to?
Answer:
Rest and sleep.

Question 4.
What are the pictures of death mentioned in the poem?
Ans:
Rest and sleep.

Question 5.
What happens to bones and souls when ‘men with thee (death) go’?
Answer:
The bones rest and souls are delivered.

Question 6.
In his reference to death as a slave, the poet displays
a) Contempt
b) Pity
c) Taunt
Answer:
c) Taunt

Question 7.
What is death slave to ?
Answer:
Fate, chance, kings and desparate men.

Question 8.
Like death, what are the other things that make him fall asleep?
Answer:
Poppy and Magicspells (charms).

Question 9.
What are the figures of speech used in explaining death?
Answer:
Personification, Extended Metaphor.

Question 10.
Why does the poet warm death not to swell in pride?
Answer:
The poet warns death not to swell in pride, because even if Death claims men, people of this earth will ultimately be resurrected eternally in God’s paradise.

II. Answer the following questions in 80-100 words:

Question 1.
Explain how the poet mocks at death for its inability to kill him.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Death, be not proud’, the poet John Donne has personified Death and mocks at death for its inability to kill him. He believes that Death has nothing to be proud about and warns death against pride in his power although some people have called Death ‘Mighty and powerful’ .

The poet believes that the power of Death is merely an illusion. The poet argues that the people whom Death thinks that he has claimed do not actually die. He poses challenges to Death and says that Death cannot claim his life, because the poet is yet to drive much pleasure from rest and sleep.

Question 2.
Examine the change of tone from mockery to optimism in the first two quatrains.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Death, be not proud’, the poet John Donne has personified Death and mocks at death for its inability to kill him. He believes that Death has nothing to be proud about and warns death against pride in his power although some people have called Death ‘Mighty and powerful’.

The poet believes that the power of Death is merely an illusion. The poet argues that the people whom Death thinks that he has claimed do not actually die. He poses a challanges to Death and says that Death cannot claim his life, because the poet is yet to drive much pleasure from rest and sleep.

The poet argues that people derive a great pleasure from rest and sleep and more of such pleasure is yet to be enjoyed by people. Sooner or later death will claim the lives of people, but the fact that Death brings a much earned rest, ‘Rest to their bones, and soul’s delivery’. This ‘Death’ will relieve people of this earth from their worldly troubles and travails and deliver their souls to God. The poet criticizes Death for being a slave to other forces such as fate, chance, kings and desperate men.

The fact is that some people are destined to die at a very young age or accidently. Some are put to death by kings and some are put to death by kings and some are murdered by desperate men. Death “Dwells” in such places where poison, war and sickness ‘dwell’.

But in fact it is a slave to these forces and does not have any control over these forces. The poet ridicules Death that ‘poppy’ – drugs and ‘charms’ – spells, can induce a much better sleep than the one that death can induce. The poet concludes his arguement by questions Death, why does death make such tall claims in its false pride? Because after one short sleep, people of this earth will ulti-mately be resurrected eternally in God’s paradise.

At the end of the poem the poet predicts the end of Death itself by declaring ‘Death thou shaft die’. The poet is optimistic and wants to break down the all powerful image of death as a victor and as having the last say. He wants to imply that death is only the beginning of another phase and needs to be viewed that way to prevent death from consuming all rational thought.

Question 3.
Comment on how the soul, after death, gets delivered of the miseries it underwent during the earthly life.
Answer:
In the last two lines of the poem ‘Death, be not proud’ the poet John Donne says Death is like a short sleep’ after which we wake eternally in God’s paradise. Sooner or later death will claim the lives of people, but the fact is that Death brings a much earned rest, “Rest to their bones, and soul’s delivery”. Death will relieve people of this earth from their worldly troubles and travails and deliver their souls to God. Donne’s concept of eternity assumes the immortuality of the soul. Although our body dies, our souls live on eternally, either in heaven or hell. Death only affects our physical body rather than our spritual selves.

Question 4.
Death, as a slave, does the bidding of fate, it cannot act on its own. Explain.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Death, be not proud’, the poet John Donne ridi-cules Death as a slave who does the bidding of fate. Death by itself is powerless. The poet criticizes death for being a slave to other forces such as fate, chance, kings and desperate men. It is a fact that some people are destined to die at a very young age or accidentally. Some or put to death by kings and some are murdered or killed by desperate men. Death dwells in such places where poison, war and sickness dwell.

Death lays a false claim that it has taken the lives of people who have lost their lives by being poisoned, killed in war or die due to sickness. But in fact it is a slave to these forces and does not have any control over these forces.

Death relies on something else or someelse to do his work. Death being a slave of all the above mentioned forces suggests that death is less powerful than them. If a king can order another person to death, then death is sub¬ordinate to a king and hence his slave. It cannot act on its own but does the bidding of fate. Here death is being controlled by others that have power over how and when death can do its work.

Question 5.
How, according to the poet, can even poppy cause better sleep than death?
Answer:
In the poem, ‘Death, bo not proud’, the poet John Donne ridi-cules Death that Poppy (Drugs) and Charms (spells) can induce the same sleep that death induces but this sleep is better than that induced by death. Here death is nothing more than sleep. Rest and sleep are pictures of death. We get a great pleasure from rest and sleep. Hence we can think that will also get even more pleasure from death.

III. Answer the following questions in 200-250 words:

Question 1.
How does the poet construct the argument that death is transitional?
Answer:
The poem “Death Be Not Proud” is penned by John Donne, who was a metaphysical poet. In the poem the poet has personified “Death” and presents an argument against the power of death. The poet believes that Death has nothing to be proud about and warns Death against pride in his power although some people have called Death as “mighty and dreadful”.

Such power is merely an illusion. The poet argues that the people whom Death thinks that he has claimed do not actually die. The poet poses a challenge to Death and says that Death cannot claim his life, because the poet is yet to derive “much pleasure” from “rest and sleep”. Here the poet com¬pares rest and sleep to ‘thy pictures” – the other images of Death.

The poet argues that people derive a great pleasure from rest and sleep and more of such pleasure is yet to be enjoyed by people. Sooner or later death will claim the lives of people, but the fact is that Death brings a much earned rest, “Rest to their bones, and soul’s delivery”.

This ‘Death’ will relieve people of this earth from their worldly troubles and travails and deliver their souls to God. The poet criticizes Death for being a slave to other forces such as fate, chance, kings and desperate men. (It is a fact that some people are destined to die at a very young age or accidently.

Some are put to death by kings and some are murdered by desperate men) Death “dwells” in such places where poison, war and sickness “dwell”. Death lays a false claim that it has taken the lives of people who have lost their lives by being poisoned, killed in war and from sickness. But in fact it is a slave to these forces and does not have any control over these forces.

The poet ridicules Death that “poppy” – drugs and “charms” – spells, can induce a much better sleep than the one that death can induce. The poet concludes his argument by questioning Death. Why does death make such tall claims in its false pride? Because after one short sleep, people of this earth will ultimately be resurrected eternally in God’s paradise. At the end of the poem the poet predicts the end Death itself by declaring “Death, thou shalt die”.

Question 2.
“One short sleep past, we wake eternally”, Explain the attitude of the poet towards death as that which leads to eternity.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Death, be not proud’. The narrator directly ad-dresses Death, a figure personified in the poem. The concept of eternity is mentioned in the couplet at the end of the poem.

“One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death, than Shalt die”.

Donne’s concept of eternity assumes the immortality of the soul. He points out that although our body dies, our souls live on eternally either in Heaven or Hell. Hence death is only apparent and temperory affecting our physical selves rather than our spiritual selves. Death is like a short sleep after which we wake eternally in God’s paradise. So Death leads to eternity of our souls after being delivered to God Almighty.

Question 3.
How does the poet contradict death as the ultimate destroyer of life?
Answer:
The concept of death and dying is powerful in the minds of most people. To manage the intense feelings associated with a discussion of death, John Donne personifies death in Death, Be Not Proud, and proceeds to discredit it because, although some may think that death is “mighty and dreadful, he maintains that “thou art not so”.

Death, in its personified form, is arrogant because it thinks that it is the end of life but Donne points out that it is only “One short sleep”. Death cannot get the better of man so Donne wonders why it feels as if it has achieved something when “our best men with thee do go” because, when they die, they simply “Rest their bones”.

The arrogance as Death “swell’st thou then” as it thinks that “thou dost overthrow” is unacceptable to Donne and Death is actually the entity that is defeated and overcome every time. It is nothing more than a transition and, whilst everyone must die, “we wake eternally” and therefore we are no longer dead which shows that , in fact, it is Death that “shalt die”.

Death, Be Not Proud Grammar And Composition

Reading and Note Making

Exercise 1.
Read the following paragraph and choose the topic sentence from the ones given below:

In today’s life we try to maximize our tasks within an allotted time. Without the use of modem gadgets it is not possible to accomplish our daily tasks and we are also not able to do our work with efficiency. We cannot even dare to imagine our life without laptop, smart phones, cell phones, notebooks, microwaves and so on. Obviously many questions will peer into the mind like how will I keep in touch with my friends and colleagues? How will I text my relatives and friends? Today, gadgets are the only way we can make our life comfortable .and easier.
(a) Maximize tasks within allotted time
(b) Laptop, smart phones etc.
(c) Keeping in touch with friends
(d) Modern gadgets
Answer:
(d) Modern Gadgets

Exercise 2.
Identify the main idea in the following paragraphs.

Question (A)
Environment is the visible or non-visible surrounding which supports life on this earth. This earth is full of natural surroundings, some are biotic and some are non-biotic. Biotic element is that element that has life like humans, birds, animals, plants and micro-organisms. Whereas abiotic elements are those which have no life like air, sunlight, water, land, soil, minerals, etc. Element which comes in categories of biotic and abiotic, further can be divided among four types of sphere like Biosphere, Hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere.
Answer:
(a) Visible surroundings
(b) Elements
(c) Environment
(d) Types of elements
Answer:
(d) Types of elements

Suppoting Idea :

  • Biotic and A biotic
  • Biosphere, Hydrosphere, Lithospere and atmosphere.

Question (B)
A newly discovered object is the most-distant body ever observed in the solar system – and the first object’ever found orbiting at more than 100 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. The discovery team nicknamed the object “Farout”, and its provisional designation from the International Astronomical Union is 2018 VG18. Preliminary research suggests it’s a round, pinkish dwarf planet. The same team spotted a faraway dwarf planet nicknamed “The Goblin” in October.
Answer:
(a) Astronomy
(b) Most distant body in the solar system
(c) Goblin
(d) Discovery team
Answer:
(b) Most distant body in the solar system

Suppoting Idea :

  • Object named ‘far out’
  • round, pinkish drawf planet.
  • ‘Goblin’ is another faraway dwarf planet.

Question (c)
Some people shy away from travelling alone, a few embrace it. So, what is it that makes it an attractive option? What are the advantages of travelling alone?

Well first things first, travelling solo can be very liberating. The itinerary you set and all the decisions you make are yours and yours alone. You don’t need to worry about any other person or group. In other words, there’s no need to compromise, there are no arguments, and no need to second-guess what other people want or need. Actually, you can be completely selfish.
Answer:
(a) Travelling alone
(b) Travel
(c) Selfishness
(d) Travel itinerary
Answer:
(a) Travelling alone

Sometimes the main idea is not always clearly stated. One has to read in detail or sometimes between the lines to identify the main point.

Suppoting Idea :

  • Liberating
  • Independence to make own decisions
  • Can act selfishly

Exercise 3 & Exercise 4 (Supporting Ideas)
Look at the following paragraphs. Can you identify the main idea?

Question (A)
Do you wear glasses? Make sure your glasses fit well. The earpieces should be at eye level. Don’t try to adjust the earpieces yourself. Take your glasses for adjustments to the place you bought them. Keep your glasses in a case when you’re not wearing them. This will prevent scratches. Keep the lenses clean. A soft cloth is best for clearing.
Answer:
(i) Wearing right glasses
(ii) Wearing glasses correctly
(iii) Taking care of your glasses
(iv) Cleaning glasses
Answer:
(iii) Taking care of your glasses

Suppoting Idea :

  • Not tampering with ear pieces
  • Keep glasses in a case to avoid scratches
  • Keep lenses clean by wiping them with soft cloth.

Question (B)
Lucky would never get her room clean. It looked like a tornado had hit it. She couldn’t believe how much damage her friends had done. They pulled everything out and didn’t put anything back. Glue was spilled all over her rug, and fingernail polish was spilled on her new bedspread. They had even wiped their chocolate covered fingers on her curtains. Wow! What a mess,
Answer:
(i) There is glue on the rug
(ii) Lucy’s friends are messy
(iii) A tornado hit the house
(iv) Lucy’s friends are ate chocolate
Answer:
(ii) Lucy’s friends are messy

Suppoting Idea :

  • Pulled every thing out and didn’t replace
  • Spilled glue, nail polish
  • Wiped chocolate fingers on cartains.

Exercise 5
Take down notes in the linear pattern from the following paragraph.

Almost all of us have suffered from a headache at some time or the other. For some a headache is a constant companion and life is a painful hell of wasted time. The most important step to cope with headaches is to identify the type of headache one is suffering from. In tension headaches (two hand headache), a feeling of a tight band around the head exists along with the pain in the neck and shoulders. It usually follows activites such as long stretches drivig, typing or sitting on the desks. They are usually short lived but can also last for days or weeks.

Headache is usually caused due to the spinal misaligment of the head, due to the posture. Sleeping on the stomach with the head turn to one side and bending over positions for a long time make it worse. In migraine headaches, the pains usually on one side of the head may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting irritability and bright spots of flashes of light. This headache is meant worse by activities expecially bending. The throbbing pain in the head worsens by noise and light. Certain triggers for migraines may be chocolate, caffeine, smoking or MSU in certain food items.

The pain may 1st eight to twenty four hours and there may be a hangover for two or three days. Migraines are often produced by an ‘aura’…. changes in sight and sensation. There is usually a family migraine. In a headache, pain originates from the brain but from the irritated nerves of muscles, blood vessels and bones.

These head pain signals to the brain which judges the degree of distress and relays it at appropriate sites. The pain sometimes may be referred to sights other than the problem areas. This is known as reffered by pain and occurs due to sensation overload. Thus, though, most headache states at the base of the skull referred pain as felt typically behind the eyes.

Factors causing headache are understood but it is known that a shift in the level of body hormones chemicals, certain foods and drinks and environmental stress can trigger them. If the headache troubles you often, visit the doctor, who will take a full health history relating to diet, life stresses, the type of headache, trigging factors and relief measure.

You may be asked to keep a ‘headache diary’ which tells you to list – the time headaches started and when it ended, emotional environmental and food and drinking factors which may contribute to it. The type and severity of pain and the medications used which provide much relief are also to be listed.

Identification of Headaches

Tension Headaches.

Symptoms : Feeling of a tight band around the head with pain in the neck and shoulders.

Exercise 6
Complete the notes in diagrammatic pattern for the paragraph given in exercise 5

Death, Be Not Proud Summary Notes 1
Almost all of us have suffered from a headache at some time or the other. For some a headache is a constant companion and life is a painful hell of wasted time. The most important step to cope with headaches is to identify the type of headache one is suffering from. In tension headaches (two hand headache), a feeling of a tight band around the head exists along with the pain in the neck and shoulders. It usually follows activites such as long stretches drivig, typing or sitting on the desks. They are usually short lived but can also last for days or weeks.

Headache is usually caused due to the spinal misaligment of the head, due to the posture. Sleeping on the stomach with the head turn to one side and bending over positions for a long time make it worse. In migraine headaches, the pains usually on one side of the head may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting irritability and bright spots of flashes of light. This headache is meant worse by activities expecially bending. The throbbing pain in the head worsens by noise and light. Certain triggers for migraines may be chocolate, caffeine, smoking or MSU in certain food items.

The pain may 1st eight to twenty four hours and there may be a hangover for two or three days. Migraines are often produced by an ‘aura’…. changes in sight and sensation. There is usually a family migraine. In a headache, pain originates from the brain but from the irritated nerves of muscles, blood vessels and bones. These head pain signals to the brain which judges the degree of distress and relays it at appropriate sites. The pain sometimes may be referred to sights other than the problem areas. This is known as reffered by pain and occurs due to sensation overload. Thus, though, most headache states at the base of the skull referred pain as felt typically behind the eyes.

Factors causing headache are understood but it is known that a shift in the level of body hormones chemicals, certain foods and drinks and environmental stress can trigger them. If the headache troubles you often, visit the doctor, who will take a full health history relating to diet, life stresses, the type of headache, trigging factors and relief measure. You may be asked to keep a ‘headache diary’ which tells you to list – the time headaches started and when it ended, emotional environmental and food and drinking factors which may contribute to it. The type and severity of pain and the medications used which provide much relief are also to be listed.
Death, Be Not Proud Summary Notes 2

Exercise 7.
Take down notes for the following passage using either the linear or diagrammatic format.

Save Water:
Water is the basic requirement of our body and thus life. Water is also named as ‘life’ because of being important element for all the living beings. Nothing can survive without water on the earth. Three – fourth part of the earth is water; howeever only 2% of the water is usable for us. At some places in India, people face water scarcity and draught condition whereas, in other places there is plenty of water available. So, the people living in areas with plenty of water must realize its importance and save water.

We are living in the tme when we need to save clean water and use it according to our use only. People at many places in India and other countries are facing a huge water scarcity. They have to depend on the government water supply by tanks or some natural water reservoirs at long distance. They have to go for a long distance on daily basis to arange drinking water.

They better understand the value of water than the people who have sufficient water supply n their areas. The situatio of lack of water becomes very terrible for the people who don’t have enough water to fulfill their basic needs of drinking, bathing, washing, etc.

India is one of the countries worldwide facing huge level water scarcity today. Place in India like Rajasthan and some parts of Gujrat are facing water scarcity where women and girls of the houses cover a long distance on bare foot to just get a pot of water. In some cities like Bangalore people have to buy water scarcity where women and girls of the houses cover a long distance on bare foot to just get a pot of water.

In some cities like Bangalore people have to buy water bottles worth Rs. 25 to Rs. 30 to drink clean water. People face more problems during summer months when the daily of water increases. Recently, it is sudied that around 25% population lacks availability to clean drinking water.

In some areas, the privatization of water bodies is the main reasons of water scarcity There are different methods we can follow to save clean drinking water to deal with the water scarcity. Rain water harvesting is one of the most effective and suitable methods among ‘save water’ techniques. Afforestation is also the best method as it reduces the surface runoff and recharges the ground water.

If promotes underground water conservation. By practicing such methods we can conserve more water naturally and ensure the availability of it for figure generations. We should take a pledge and make a lifelong motto of “Save water, save life, save earth”.

We should teach simple methods of water saving to our children, women and other members of the family like turning off all the taps tightly after each use, using sprinklers to water the lawn, giving bath to pets in the lawn, repair of all the leaking pipes, harvesting rain water for purposes like watering plant, washing clothes, etc. We should also practice keeping the river (especially Ganga) water clean and safe for future use and safety of water animals.

Water is known as the elixir of life, so we should save it to save life on the earth. We need water for many purposes in our daily walks of life. So, we should understand the value of water drops and save it.

Saving Water:

  • Water is the basis of all life on earth.
  • Only 2% of potable water

Importance of Saving Water

  • To prevent Scarcity of water

Methods of Saving Water

  • Rain water harvesting for future use
  • Afforestation
  • Reduces Surface run off
  • Recharges ground water
  • Promotes underground water conservation

Inculcating simple methods to save water

  • Turing off taps after use
  • Using sprinklers water lawns
  • Maintenance of taking pipes and taps.
  • Harvesting Rain water
  • Preventing polution of water bodies.

Water is the elixir of life. Save it.

Save water, save life, save earth.

English Summary

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