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Death in Art, Philosophy, and Religion


List of Sections
Cultural Represntations of Death
Reading Notes
Death in Art, Philosophy, and Religion
Student Forum
Section Syllabus (Zen's)
Class Syllabus (Wendy's)

Literary Sources


The human animal dances wildest on the edge of the grave.
- Rita Mae Brown Whom the gods love die young, was said of yore. - Lord Byron, Don Juan (canto IV, st. 12)
	To die: to sleep: 
No more; and by a sleep to say we end                          
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks 
That flesh is heir to,--'t is a consummation 
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; 
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub:           
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,             
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 
Must give us pause: there's the respect 
That makes calamity of so long life; 
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, 
The insolence of office and the spurns 
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,                          
When he himself might his quietus make                          
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear, 
To grunt and sweat under a weary life, 
But that the dread of something after death, 
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn 
No traveller returns, puzzles the will 
And makes us rather bear those ills we have 
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Philosophical Sources


Before the imminence of death, language rushes forth, but it also starts again, tells of itself, discovers the story of the story and the possibility that this interpenetration might never end. Headed toward death, language turnsback upon itself; encounters something like a mirror; and to stopthis death which would stop it, it possessesbut a single power: that of giving birth of its own image in a play of mirrors that has no limits
-- Michel Foucualt
The fear of death is worse than death. [Latin: Timor mortis morte pejor.] - Richard Eugene Burton (2), Anatomy of Melancholy

Religious Traditions


Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
- Bible, Job (ch. I, v. 20-21)