Throughout literature authors tend to write about various topics such as love, lust, and loss. The authors usually express their deepest feelings about these subjects that they usually have come in contact with. John Donne was born in 1572 to Roman Catholic parents. In his early years, he deals with the death of his father. It seems like he deals with the issue of death throughout his life. When he becomes a preacher, his work turns away from love to more serious issues like death. His position as a preacher also influences his outlook on this grim issue. His most celebrated work on death “Death Be Not Proud” is divided into three parts. Death is a phenomenon feared by many and the very thought of it sends shivers through hearts of people. John Donne acts as a literary warrior in refuting this common notion. He is easing the anxiety that society preoccupies itself with. It is interesting that his poem is referenced in other contexts that deal with the same subject. The play “Wit” opens with the main character Vivian Bearing in her doctor’s office about to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Before this plague, she was a well-respected English professor, but now she is transformed into a lab rat whom we see the process of death incur on. Throughout the play, Vivian reads the poem and the audience watches her emulate the poem itself. The three parts of “Death Be Not Proud” both resemble and differ in Vivian’s process of dying. .
In the first section of the poem, John Donne immediately assaults death. He is directly addressing and attacking death. He tries to belittle death by stating that contrary to popular belief, it is not “mighty and dreadful.” His direct attack on death establishes his stance early and parallels Vivian’s case. As soon as she hears the news from her doctor, Vivian commits the remaining of her energy to fight the disease that is eventually going to kill her.