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A Comparative Essay On The Effect Of The Demise Of The Empress Of Ireland And The Titanic.

1429 words - 6 pages

Eternally Lost at Sea:A Comparative Essay on the Effect of the Demise ofthe Empress of Ireland and the TitanicEveryone knows of the tragedy that occurred on April 15, 1912. The most famous ocean liner ever constructed sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, not to be seen by human eyes again for seventy-three years. But why is the disaster of the Titanic so widely known? Not more than two years later, in late May of 1914, another ship set sail from it's port in Quebec City en route to Liverpool, only to succumb to the same fate of the Titanic. Her name? Very rarely would you ever hear anyone speak of her. Despite the fact that the Empress of Ireland had more passenger totalities than the Titanic, many people even then, were not aware of her misfortune, or had simply soon forgotten. A loss is not simply remembered because it was lost. Among other things it is how and where. For, no matter how great the loss of life or the severity of a sinking of a ship, several factors influence, in the end, whether the disaster is embedded in our minds, or concealed in watery depths forever. Prime examples of this are the tragedies of the Empress of Ireland and the Titanic.Back in the early 1900s, there weren't nearly as many celebrities as there are today, but if you were of upper class society, travel was only arranged on the finest of ocean liners. Both the Empress and the Titanic had luxurious accommodations in first class, but having all the media attention she did, prior to her maiden voyage, the Titanic attracted some of the wealthiest men in the world to sail with her to America. The Titanic's passenger list was one for the White Star Line to boast about. They had the pleasure of accommodating the likes of Col. John Jacob Astor, the ship's most affluent ticket holder. Mr. Astor and his eighteen year old, seven-month pregnant wife, Madeline Talmage Astor, were sailing back to New York so the child could be born in the States. The tickets cost the Astors a cool £224. Other icons on the Titanic included Isidor Straus, co-founder of the Macy's department store in New York, and his wife Ida, as well as George Dunton Widener, a banker, and heir to one of the largest fortunes in Philadelphia. Compared to the Titanic, the Empress' directory was far less extravagant, as acknowledged by author David Zeni in Forgotten Empress,The Empress of Ireland had the drama and the Edwardian sets but was short on the cast. She carried socialites and peers of contemporary celebrity but Lawrence Irving is believed to be the only passenger who commanded international recognition. Contrast this with Titanic passengers whose names were synonymous with Edwardian excess like Astor...1It is interesting to note, however, that if the Titanic had not met such a dreadful fate many of it's passengers would not be nearly as well known today.Another reason why the Titanic received much more attention than the disaster of the Empress was it's sheer size and elegance, which...

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