Death Of The Great Mysteries Of Human Existence

1187 WordsMay 3, 20175 Pages
Death. This human inevitability is among the most frequent subjects in ancient literature. It is a crucial fact of life, yet no one is certain what lies beyond. Death itself is often not thought of until tragedy strikes, and until then, individuals often look at the world much more optimistically. Authors, in particular, have the entire world and its experiences from which to draw their inspiration. However, death has and will always be one of the most prominent themes explored in literature, as it is one of the great mysteries of human existence. Although death is universal, it does not have one unitary view. Various cultures conceptualize death, as seen through their unique beliefs, feelings, and native practices often represented in…show more content…
In time, Achilles is willing to sacrifice everything, including his life, in hopes that he will be remembered. In addition, Greek tradition holds immense importance upon burial rights. Ancient Greek culture required proper burial to ensure a soul’s peaceful rest in the afterlife. In The Iliad, Hector and Patroclus’ burials are given much attention, as Homer writes an entire book on Patroclus’ funeral and honor. Flash forward to the sixth century, among a pre-Anglo-Saxon culture in Scandinavia. This particular culture supports attaining honor and glory in the present life, much like the Greeks, yet they do not have a concept of the afterlife. A warrior’s glorious reputation and ancestral identity was a means of ensuring that their memory will live on. This concept of identity as a means to “survive” death can be examined in the oldest Old-English text created, Beowulf. This traditionally oral story depicts the heroic exploits of Beowulf, a warrior from Geats. The poem follows Beowulf through difficult battles with monsters, showcasing his pride and strength. However, before Beowulf is even introduced, the poem begins with a discussion of Shield Sheafson, King of the Danes and ancestor of the royal line. The narrator recounts the Danish King to the audience of this time, reminding them of their lost, but never forgotten, ancestor. Shield Sheafson is remembered as a “scourge of many tribes, / a wrecker of mead-benches, / rampaging among
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