Emily Dickinson Death Be Not Proud Analysis

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Death is an experience that all humans will eventually face, and no living human can say exactly what this encounter is like. The poems “On My First Son” by Ben Jonson, “Death be not proud” by John Donne, and “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson are all examples of poetry that express and explore the central theme of death and its many facets.These poems examine how people view the inevitability of the human condition, and look at the fact that people die at any point in time and is not dictated by a human’s own time frame. “On My First Son”, “Death be not proud”, and “ Because I could not stop for Death” discuss death. All three poems approach this topic in a unique way. “Death be not proud” and “Because I could not stop…show more content…
In this poem the speaker personifies death as a gentleman caller saying “Because I could not stop for Death- / He kindly stopped for me-.” Dickinson portrays death as kind and gentle as opposed to something morbid and evil, and that it should be feared. In the third stanza anaphora is used in the repetition of the words “We passed” at the beginning of the 9th, 11th, and 12th lines. This technique is used to show that the “speaker in the poem is passing through everything that she has already lived through, thus giving the reader a sense of life going by.” In this stanza the speaker is essentially seeing her life again and watching it as it goes by the carriage from childhood until the “Setting Sun”, which symbolizes the end of her life. Then in the fourth stanza the speaker says “Or rather-He passed us- / The Dews drew quivering and chill-.” This is an image of the chill of death, and how when a human’s blood stops pumping and the sun has set on one’s life, then the body becomes cold. In the fifth stanza the carriage the speaker is riding in is “paused before a House that seemed / A Swelling in the Ground-.” The house is actually a symbol for the speaker’s grave, but the use of this symbol allows the poet “to lighten the tone of the graveyard scene.” The use of the carriage pulling up to a house rather than a graveyard keeps the poem from taking a more ominous approach, and maintains the mood that was set at the beginning of the poem. The final stanza explains that “Since then -’tis Centuries-and yet / Feels shorter than the Day / I first surmised the Horses’ Heads / Were toward Eternity-.” This final stanza reveals to the reader that the speaker has been dead and living in eternity for centuries and the images that were shown in the first five stanzas were all memories from her trip from life into eternity. From this final stanza the reader can infer that in “Because I could not
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