Professor Ashford critiques the version of "Death Be Not Proud" by English poet, John Donne, that Vivian Bearing uses because it is incorrectly punctuated. The punctuation within a poem can give it an entirely different meaning.
A soldier, returning from the trenches, refuses to speak in favor of enlistment. He speaks out against the popular philosophy of the time--that dying for your country is an honorable death. On the contrary, he discusses the harsh realities of war and attacks the notion that an honorable death is worthwhile. Is a "noble" death more valuable than living?
When faced with the concept of her own death, cancer patient Vivian Bearing must re-assess her life and decide if it has been a life well lived. Her nurse gives her options on what to do when her heart fails, and this clip reinforces the importance of human connection.
Mexican surrealist artist Frida Kahlo celebrates her 25th year wedding anniversary with her husband Diego Rivera two weeks early because she acknowledges her looming death. The end of the scene captures her exit from life in the way most fitting to her: surreal.