Death Is Defeated In Death Knocks By Woody Allen

822 words - 4 pages

In the one-act play Death Knocks, Woody Allen constructs a humorous allegory revolving around an ordinary man, Nat Ackerman, and his unanticipated encounter with death. In the story, death is personified as an actual character and resembles his victim’s overall appearance. However, Death is not simply portrayed as a typical frightening character but more as an uncoordinated klutz. With the intention of preventing Death from accomplishing his mission, Nat challenges Death to a game of gin rummy and wins one more day of life. In Woody Allen’s Death Knocks, the ironic dramatization of death enables Nat to utilize humor as a coping mechanism to alleviate the common fears associated with dying. ...view middle of the document...

DEATH: M&M’s. What if the President came? He’d get M&M’s too?
NAT: You’re not the President. (1069)
Nat implies the company of the President would even take precedence over the company of Death. Nat continues to relinquish his fear of death by comparing him to one of his friends. Nat proceeds to tell Death how he reminds him of his friend Moe Lefkowits because they are both stubborn individuals. As Nat continues to ridicule him, Death asks, “How would you like it if I got insulted quickly?” (1071). Death becomes offended when he realizes Nat is no longer afraid of him, but instead, he enjoys teasing him and being critical of his actions. As Nat mocks Death and compares him to other people, he becomes more familiar with Death and realizes there is nothing left to fear.
Allen establishes a connection between life and a game when Nat convinces Death to play a game of gin rummy. When proposing the stakes, Nat bargains, “If I win, give me some more time. A little bit – one more day” (1069). In order to gain more time in his life, Nat takes advantage of Death’s weaknesses. Nat realizes Death can be easily persuaded and raises the stakes to involve money (1069). At this point, Nat has conquered the fear of dying. Instead, he is more concerned with trying to outsmart Death and take his money. When Death...

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