1. Hero-Jean629
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    Hero-Jean629 Member

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    Personification of Death?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Hero-Jean629, Sep 20, 2011.

    I wrote a school paper on which we had to describe an object, belief, etc. but characterize it as a human being. I chose Death and after writing it, it got me thinking. What do you perceive Death, if he or she was a person?

    Also is the personification of Death a bit overused nowadays in stories? I know there are Grim Reapers but what about Death in general?
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    People have personified Death since time immemorial. Death had been everything from the typical skeleton guy in robes (sometimes just the bare-boned skeleton) to a nice, gentle old man arriving to escort someone to the afterlife (re: Emily Dickenson).

    I like to see Death as how Emily Dickenson saw it. Just a nice bloke arriving in a carriage.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I have only personified Death in one short story so far. Because it was intended as a humorous piece, I stuck with the Grim Reaper personification. However, if I write Death in another story, I may choose a completely different characterization.

    Write what works best for the story.
     
  4. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    In my current novel I personified him grim reaper style, but he had a mortal form that looked human. You should read disk world the personification of death in it is great.
     
  5. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    In my story, death is a clown that juggles rocket propelled chainsaws while dancing on a high-wire. He has no training in any of these tricks and has no intention of learning.

    The story you want to tell should affect how you personify death.
     
  6. CULLEN DORN
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    CULLEN DORN Member

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    Death is a mystery to many. To some it is a relief from pain; to others an abortion of dreams.
    But to me death is a familiar presence whose characteristics, amorphous and androgynously
    suggestive, is a kind friend whose threshold I suspect we've cross over many a times before.
     
  7. Cordoma
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    Cordoma Member

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    Impressive, Cullen Dorn! Are you going to publish that?

    Hypocrite that I am, I'd imagine meeting death like this:

    I'm walking down the cracked streets of my old neighboorhood. It's dark at night, but the moon is up. Fool moon. I hear the cicada song filling the air: and then nothing. As the silence envelops the twisting mesquite trees in the neighbors yards, I see a pack of old hound dogs. Their teeth are broken and their legs are full of mange. I walk with them into the night.
     
  8. Hero-Jean629
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    Hero-Jean629 Member

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    Actually these all sound pretty interesting, though Cordoma's idea kinda freaks me out a bit...just a pinch. Keep them coming if you'd like guys!
     
  9. Cordoma
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    Cordoma Member

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    Actually, that's how the cucui gets you, Hero-J. So watch out. He's coming for you. :p
     
  10. CULLEN DORN
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    CULLEN DORN Member

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    Thanks Cordoma. No, I'm not. :)


    For a moment I thought it was my old neighborhood in Spanish Harlem you were describing. ;)
     
  11. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I've never personified Death in my writing. But from a story standpoint, I really like how it was portrayed in the film, Meet Joe Black.
     
  12. Cordoma
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    Cordoma Member

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    I've seen that movie. It's very good.
     
  13. metempsychosis
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    metempsychosis New Member

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    I'm my story, death is personified as an ashen skinned creature. His eyes are sunken and his cheeks hollow, but he is faceless. He has no eyes, only the indentions where they should be. He has no mouth or nose either. His hair is stark white and frizzed aimlessly in all directions. His face and hands are the only visible skin as his body is completely encased in tight bindings and wrappings so tight that they make him seem generically skeletal, bits of torn cloth trailing left to the wind. The wrappings unwind themselves to become great wings for which he can fly. His fingers turn black and shape into claws without seams or cuticles, elongated unnaturally.

    He has carried the old to their fate, taken over the minds of the humane to massively murder the innocent, taken the lives of children, and riddled the helpless with disease and sickness. He is completely blind to gender, age, colour, and orientation. He speaks silence, never revealing himself until the last moment. He does not breath, he is not living. He knows not the smell of blood or rotting corpses or the sweet perfume of gardenias and roses. Only those whose time come are the ones able to see him for that final moment, even in a flash. He stalks in the shadows of plain sight and comes to both the expected and unnexpected.


    Death has been personified since man had thought. The same goes for any and every abstract word there is. Perhaps it is overused but people won't ever tire of it.
     
  14. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Piers Anthony had an interesting take on Death in his Incarnations of Immortality books. When on the job, Death looked like the traditional Grim Reaper. But off the clock, he was a normal human who simply held the office of the incarnation of death. He did similar treatments of Nature, War, Fate, Time, Good, and Evil.
     
  15. Dr Death
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    Dr Death New Member

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    Ha, Ha, Ha... you've all got it wrong... :eek:
     
  16. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a nice Death in my stories... She's just doing her job and is quite friendly and open. On the other hand, the main character she's talking to has first hand experience with already knowing magic and afterlives exist, so Death doesn't have to be cagey about it. :p In general I think because she knows Heaven/Hell etc exist, she isn't too upset by having to reap people, and her job in that particular universe isn't one about finality and endings so much as just moving people about. She might be a bit more reserved when talking to characters who are atheists who've taken against her.

    That's just the only stories I've personified Death in though, and they're a nice cheerful series. Something more serious might call for a grimmer reaper (har har) and less flippancy about what happens next.
     
  17. Ubrechor
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    Ubrechor Active Member

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    I think Death personified is a miasmic fog that only you can see; it clouds your vision, leaving not a trace of life behind. It clots your senses, smothers your thoughts, and only those who truly do not fear death can go peacefully - else the fog will simply drag you mercilessly away to the Other Place.
     
  18. Snoopingaround
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    Snoopingaround Banned

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    I look at Death as personified by a beautiful young woman, one of the most attractive you've ever seen. Elegant and mysterious, somber and brooding. She has striking features, and she is the type that you would notice instantly in the room. She is dressed simply but alluringly. There is a sense of danger you feel when looking at her, you notice how unnaturally she moves and how intense yet cold her pitch dark eyes are. She is very attractive, but there is a vague yet unmistakable sense of rot and decay about her. You can feel the grip of a cold primitive fear and sense of impending dread when you get close to her. She doesn't appear to be speaking to anyone at the moment. She seems very quiet.
     
  19. Excise
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    I totally agree that Death as a grim reaper is overdone. Even if you make him human, if he's got that grim reaper personality, it's going to feel like it's old hat.

    Random, only-partly-thought-out brainstorm:

    Death as a child signalling that while you may die, your legacy and/or society lives on.

    Death as a total thrill seeker, reminding you to live to the fullest.

    Death as a gambling man, constantly rolling the die to see who needs to... er, die. Signifies how unexpected and random death can be. And hey, you get a free pun out of it! :-D

    Death as a heartless murderer preying on the sick and wounded.

    Death as friend/antagonist/lover/ex of the personification of life.

    Death as a mysterious person who's never fully seen clearly, signifying the unknown.
     
  20. SerenaYasha
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    SerenaYasha Member

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    In this story/comic I've been working on for years Death is a male, works as Doctor, and is very happy guy unless you do something to P him off. He will shed tears at an untimely death. he seems like a normal human but the flower he wears changes depending who is looking at it. The view sees a flower they perceivecive to mean death.

    does love when those who deserve to die do and will triger events to happen so that the yellow-belly snake gets what coming to them. one person he wishes would die would and he can't do a thing about it.
     
  21. YoungCreature
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    YoungCreature Member

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    Yup. I like those books. He did a pretty good job, just like he always does, by not making everything so serious. There is a lightheartedness to his writing, even when some of the subjects covered are rather... gloomy. I respect that.
     
  22. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    I'd imagine 'Death' as something/somebody with meaning to the character. For example, if I were dying of old age, I might expect to see my deceased mother or father come to collect me from the land of the living.

    If I were a soldier serving on the front line who was killed during active service, I might expect to see a medic or kindly sergeant come to preserve my soul once my body had been compromised.

    Thinking about it from a religious standpoint, an ardent Christian might see a very different image of Death than somebody who believes in Scientology.

    Personally, I don't see that a "one size fits all" personification of Death is a logical way to go. It all depends on a person's beliefs.
     
  23. Falkneon
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    Falkneon New Member

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    Personifying Death could be done in many ways, but if I had to do it she'd have sort of dry humor, but serious at the same time. She'd look kind of lazy and aloof, but takes her work (sending people off to purgatory) pretty seriously.
     

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