In literature as well as in life, individuals mainly hold two beliefs on death. On concept is that death is absolutely nothing to fear, as it sets you free of charge in the afterlife, and the other idea is that it is the most fearful contemplation one can think of. In the poem “Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne, the speaker scorns death and thinks practically nothing of it, even though Ivan Illych in the quick story “The Death of Ivan Illych” by Leo Tolstoy holds a conflicting believed about death he is terrified of it.

In the poem “Death, Be Not Proud,” the thought of death does not faze the speaker. The speaker addresses death in a sarcastic and dismissive tone. He feels that death sets you no cost, that the dead “wake eternally,” and death brings extra pleasure than rest and sleep. The speaker scorns and ridicules death, stating that it has practically nothing to be proud of. The speaker disagrees with others thoughts that death is mighty and dreadful. He feels that this belief of death is no additional, that death is what is in fact dying.

In contrast to “Death, Be Not Proud,” the most important character in “The Death of Ivan Illych is petrified of death. Illych is so horrified of death that he refuses to think it will happen. Illych uses the metaphor that death is “an unacceptable guest…unacceptable in the parlor of his consciousness.” As Ivan Illych recognizes death approaching, he gets feelings of despair, and he denies the possibility of death. He refuses to accept that he will die like other males, he feels he is “…not some logical abstraction…unique, different.” To Illych, death tends to make no sense at all. He even personifies death as “creeping upon” him like a “highwayman or a thief in a dark alleyway.” The pretty thought of death fills Illych with horror and disgust.

The speaker of “Death, Be Not Proud” and the principal character of “The Death of Ivan Illych” both have conflicting suggestions toward death. The speaker of the poem “Death, Be Not Proud” belittles death, and the mere believed of death fills Ivan Illych with shock and dreadfulness.

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