Portrayal Of Death By Emily Dickinson 's `` Because I Could Not Stop For Death ``

1297 Words Oct 3rd, 2016 6 Pages
Portrayals of Death in Poetry Death is a frequently explored theme in poetry. While this theme is quite prevalent, different poets have their own unique ideas about it and choose to portray death in a way that fits their beliefs. Poets also differ in the context of how they write about death. Some authors write through the eyes of someone who has died, whereas others write from the perspective of a person who has lost someone close to them. With every author comes a unique portrayal of death that fits his or her beliefs. Sometimes this representation is incredibly optimistic or pessimistic, but the best attitude taken towards death is a grounded, realistic one. Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death” (1863) is a poem where the author’s attitude toward death is very optimistic and a major contrast from how death is typically portrayed. When death is personified, it is usually in a negative way. Death is usually portrayed as the Grim Reaper, a dark figure dressed in black, wielding a scythe and lurking in the shadows. These images conjure up fear in most people’s minds. In Dickinson’s poem, however, the character Death is the exact opposite. He is portrayed as patient and polite, not dark and disturbing. Dickinson writes, “Because I could not stop for Death-/He kindly stopped for me” (Dickinson 993). This language portrays Death not as a scary figure waiting to take any innocent person’s life, but as someone waiting patiently to bring someone to the…

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