Death  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Dying)
Jump to: navigation, search
The Dead Christ (1582) by Annibale Carracci
Enlarge
The Dead Christ (1582) by Annibale Carracci

"You are a little soul, carrying a corpse [...]" --Epictetus


Dying is certainly to be regarded as the real aim of life; at the moment of dying, everything is decided, which through the whole course of life was only prepared and introduced.” -- The World as Will and Representation (1818) by Schopenhauer


"Eroticism ... is assenting to life up to the point of death." [...] --Eroticism, Georges Bataille

Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c. 1480) by Andrea Mantegna
Enlarge
Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c. 1480) by Andrea Mantegna
The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David
Enlarge
The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David
El amor y la muerte (English: Love and Death) is plate 10 from the Caprichos by Francisco Goya.
Enlarge
El amor y la muerte (English: Love and Death) is plate 10 from the Caprichos by Francisco Goya.
This page Death is part of the death series. Cenotaph for Newton (1784) by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée
Enlarge
This page Death is part of the death series.
Cenotaph for Newton (1784) by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée
Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin: "Basel" version, 1880
Enlarge
Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin: "Basel" version, 1880

Related e

Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Shop


Featured:

Death is the permanent end of the life of a biological organism. Death may refer to the end of life as either an event or condition.

Contents

Society and culture

Death is the center of many traditions and organizations, and is a feature of every culture around the world. Much of this revolves around the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife and the disposal of bodies upon the onset of death. The disposal of human corpses does, in general, begin with the last offices before significant time has passed, and ritualistic ceremonies often occur, most commonly interment or cremation. This is not a unified practice, however, as in Tibet for instance the body is given a sky burial and left on a mountain top. Mummification or embalming is also prevalent in some cultures, to retard the rate of decay.

Such rituals are accompanied by grief and mourning in almost all cases, and this is not limited to human loss, but extends to the loss of an animal. Legal aspects of death are also part of many cultures, particularly the settlement of the deceased estate and the issues of inheritance and in some countries, inheritance taxation.

Capital punishment is also a divisive aspect of death in culture. In most places that practice capital punishment today, the death penalty is reserved as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries, sexual crimes, such as adultery and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as apostasy, the formal renunciation of one's religion. In many retentionist countries, drug trafficking is also a capital offense. In China human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are also punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offenses such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.

Death in warfare and in suicide attack also have cultural links, and the ideas of dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, mutiny punishable by death, grieving relatives of dead soldiers and death notification are embedded in many cultures. Recently in the western world, with the supposed increase in terrorism following the September 11 attacks, but also further back in time with suicide bombers and terrorism in Northern Ireland, kamikaze missions in World War II and suicide missions in a host of other conflicts in history, death for a cause by way of suicide attack, and martyrdom have had significant cultural impacts.

Suicide in general, and particularly euthanasia are also points of cultural debate. Both acts are understood very differently in contrasting cultures. In Japan, for example, ending a life with honor by seppuku was considered a desirable death, whereas in many western cultures the idea of euthanasia is looked upon with mixed feelings. Death is also personified in many cultures, with such creations as the Grim Reaper, Azrael, Father Time. Such cultural ideas are part of a global fascination with death.

Abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. This is partially legalised in many Western countries if the mother requests it, and a doctor prescribes it, often taking into account the physical and mental state of the mother-to-be, and the development of the fetus. In countries where abortion is legal, it is understood that the rights of the mother outweigh the rights of the fetus. Some ethicists and religious groups argue that this is wrong and that the fetus has a right to life. In countries where abortion is illegal, many "back-alley" (unsafe abortions) may still occur with great risk to the health of the mother.

Death in art

Death in art

The Death of Cleopatra (1658) by Guido Cagnacci and Saint Agnes stabbed (1637) by Francesco Cairo.

Personification of death

Death has been personified as a figure or fictional character in mythology and popular culture since the earliest days of storytelling. Because the reality of death has had a substantial influence on the human psyche and the development of civilization as a whole, the personification of Death as a living, sentient entity is a concept that has existed in many societies since before the beginning of recorded history. In western culture, death has long been shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe, and sometimes wearing a midnight black gown with a hood. This image was widely illustrated during the Middle Ages.

Examples of death personified are:

  • Mexican tradition holds the goddess or folk saint called Santa Muerte as the personification of death.
  • In modern-day European-based folklore, Death is known as the "Grim Reaper" or "The grim spectre of death". This form typically wields a scythe, and is sometimes portrayed riding a white horse.
  • In the Middle Ages, Death was imagined as a decaying or mummified human corpse, later becoming the familiar skeleton in a robe.
  • Death is sometimes portrayed in fiction and occultism as Azrael, the angel of death (note that the name "Azrael" does not appear in any versions of either the Bible or in the Qur'an).
  • Father Time is sometimes said to be Death.
  • A psychopomp is a spirit, deity, or other being whose task is to conduct the souls of the recently dead into the afterlife, as in Greek, Roman and other cultures.

See also

See also

Death of ...

Contrast

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Death" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools