Death Sonnets

Two sonnets on death by John Donne and John Keats are compared and contrasted for content and style. These sonnets reflect the deep-seated views of the poets.

“Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne and “When I Have Fears” by John Keats are both sonnets about death. This paper explains how Donne treats death as the gateway to eternal life and presents a well-reasoned argument, which supports this thesis. Keats, on the other hand, treats death as a final nothingness. In a poem filled with imagery, he states that he is unprepared for death.
” “Death be not Proud” by John Donne and “When I have Fears” by John Keats are two poems that have striking comparisons and contrasts. Both are sonnets about death written by poets who were preoccupied with the subject. Keats had seen his mother and later his brother die from tuberculosis and was himself suffering from the terminal disease. [1] Donne was known to be preparing for his death for quite some time before he actually died. He had written two “death-bed hymns” long before his death and had even preached his “own funeral sermon”. [2] This poem too reflects his preoccupation with his own death when in the fourth line he says, “nor yet canst thou kill me”. However the outlook of the two poets is completely different. Keats is worried about dying and looks upon death as a final “nothingness”. Donne on the other hand scorns death, treating it as a gateway to eternal life.”