The Concept Of Death And Afterlife In W.B.Yeat's Byzantium And Sailing To Byzantium By Purwarno

2575 words - 10 pages


Every soul shall have a taste of death. That brings us to a question of what death really is. Generally speaking, the basic concept of the process so called death is build up on the facts that this process starts when the heart stop its work to pump the blood which leads to the brain damage and the failure of the whole systems of human body. When all the system or the functions of human organs are out of work, the body itself becomes lifeless or dead.
Furthermore, according to the religious points of view, being dead, as we mention above does not mean that the journey of human soul has come to an end. On the contrary once the soul left the body, it will transform into another living form and will live until the judgment day arrives.

?When all sequence comes to an end, time comes to an end, and the soul puts on the rhythmic or spiritual or luminous body and contemplates all the events of its memory and every possible impulse in an eternal possession of itself in one single moment. That condition is alone animate, all the rest is phantasy, and from thence came all the passions, and some have held, the very heat of the body?.
(Norman, A. Jaffares. 1984, p.333)

Apart from religious definition of death above, in fact Yeats is neither orthodoxy religious nor orthodoxy scientific. He has his own science, which is an occult one, and his own religion or sophisticated lower mythology and in prose he sometimes reconciles them at the level of mystic. His tolerance in religions resulted in inconsistent and ambiguous attitude as reflected in his Byzantium and Sailing to Byzantium.

2.1 Christian Doctrine
On the matter of death, according to Christian doctrine of man, God created human souls to be immortal, but placed them in physical bodies with which they become essentially connected. At death, the soul left the body and was immediately judged. For the majority of mankind this judgment resulted in the soul?s consignment to purgatory, to expiate its sins. At the second coming of Christ, the decomposed bodies of the dead would be reconstituted and their soul would reenter them for the final judgment. The Christian doctrine of man involved the doctrine of original sin. It was taught that Adam had implicated all his descendants in his original act of disobedience to his creator. Consequently, all subsequent generation deserved of God?s wrath from the moment of birth, quite apart from the guilt the later acquired by their own actual sins. Being thus a fallen race, mankind was predisposed to evil. This meant, according to Christian theologians, that man wasn?t only unable to save himself from the state of perdition into which he was born, but he could not even desire to repent without God?s grace. This means that God provided salvation for mankind is expounded in the doctrine of the Atonement, and constitutes an essential part of the foundational teaching of Christianity. Through the atonement, those...

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