Dennis Sansom presents and examines the way the experience of death teaches a moral lesson from three poets and playwrights. Sophocles’ conclusion to Oedipus Rex shows the shortcoming of living a meaningful life based upon a utilitarian calculus. Shakespeare’s soliloquy of “To be or not to be” given by Hamlet exposes the limitations of trying to base a well-ordered moral life upon rational principles. John Donne’s Meditation XVII, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” presents an experience of death, interpreted by faith in Christ’s salvific work through suffering death, which creates compassion toward humanity and confidence in humanity purpose. Mr. Sansom is Professor of Philosophy at Samford University.