1 minute read


Defining Death, Bereavement, Grief, And Mourning, Why Must People Die?, Historical Perspectives

The idea of death—the irreversible end to life—has preoccupied, fascinated, and struck fear into human beings through the millennia. In the early twenty-first century, artists continue to sing about death, write about death, and depict it in paintings and photographs. Religious leaders are still talking about how to live a meaningful life in the face of death's inevitability. Governments go to war in the name of peace and the defense of the living, causing death on a massive scale. Ethicists and activists argue over the right to die, the right to live, the right to kill. Medical personnel strive to prevent it, are often present at the bedside of the dying, and pronounce when death has occurred. Biologists and physiologists puzzle over when it occurs and how it can be measured. Counselors, therapists, relatives, and dear friends help those The Sorrow of Andromache (1781) by Jacques-Louis David. Oil on canvas. The concepts of death, grief, and mourning have been represented by innumerable artists throughout the centuries. During the Enlightenment, themes in art were frequently linked to human mortality. ERICH LESSING/ART RESOURCE, NY who are dying make peace with their death, and help those left behind to live on. Young children wonder what has happened to their loved ones, and families struggle with their grief.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cyanohydrins to Departments of philosophy: