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Death And Its Personofication In Greek Mythology And Other Cultures

2039 words - 9 pages

“The fear of death is deeply embedded in us” (Cave 1). Death is something that everyone fears. As humans we like to believe that we are inhuman and that death will never affect us. It’s the ugly side of life that no one likes to think about. It doesn’t matter what race, culture, or region we are, we’ll all die. Many believe that when we die we go to heaven or hell, but what happens to our body after we are dead? Do we float on to parallel universe, or does our body just appear wherever we are destined to be. The grim reaper is what many of us believe is the carrier between the two worlds and the keeper of our bodies.
The Grim Reaper is known as the personification of death. He comes for every person, like an hourglass hand waiting for the last drop of sand to fall. Many remember him in a long black cloak, with a tall razor sharp blade wait to cut through to your soul. His skull face is hidden underneath the droopy black hood. This view of the Grim Reaper was mainly adapted by Americans. The Greeks, believed that death shouldn’t be seen as such a horrible part of life, thus they named death Thanatos. Thanatos is the older brother of Hypnos (Sleep), who looks up to him. Thanatos powers only affects humans and not the Gods, which is what he wants to be. This angers him because he doesn’t want to limited in the people that he can to kill. Therefore, this makes Thanatos hate all mortals because of the God’s rejections to become one of them.
Death and Sleep had to take care of Lycian prince Sarpedon. Prince Sarpedon was the son of Zeus, the king of the Gods, and his mother Laodamiea. He was the hero of the bloody Trojan War. Sarpedon fought along with the Trojans but he was stabbed by the Greek Warrior Patroculs. When the hero was killed it was a struggle over who will take his body. Zeus made one of his servant Apollo cleanse the blood from his body and prepare him for a proper burial in Lycia with his family. It was Thanatos and Hypnos job to bring him to Lycia. The Greeks viewed him with wings and an extinguished. Mainly, his job was to bring the dead to Hades, the Greek underworld, where he would deliver the souls to Charon, a ferryman on the River Styx. Thanatos is frequently followed by Keres (female death-spirits) who were hounds of Hades and death spirits that would hound the soon to be dead. They were seen as “Dark beings with gnashing teeth and claws and with a thirst for human blood. They would hover over the battlefield and search for dying and wounded men.” (Perseus). On the battle field, they would lower their bodies to the wounded longing to drink their dark blood. Once the Keres found their victim they would sink their claws into them and bring them to Hades after filling their thirst for blood.
Thanatos is dependent to the Moerae, who are three sisters that decided human fate “everybody has a portion in life, the individual fate (moira) is usually present when Thanatos comes to fetch a mortal." (GreekGuide 2). Thanatos can...

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