"O death, where is thy sting?"

okandEvery breath you take is a step closer towards death. It's very comforting to be informed of this inevitable prospect. Death is common to all people, eras, societies and cultures. How death is conceived is, on the other hand, different. The conception of death is very important, because it shapes our behaviors and practices. The conception varies over time and across cultures. Art has always played an important role in portraying and interpreting death. Through art, people have manifested their beliefs and attitudes towards death. It has been examined in the processes of aging, dying, grieving and commemorating. Music is art and gothic country music is fine art. Death is omnipresent. Those Poor Bastards sums it up: "Some people live ‘til the age of ninety-four / Some people die before they are born / ... / Everybody dies everybody dies / Everybody dies everybody dies". The genre is filled to the brim with themes and symbols. Skeletons and scythes are very popular. For the uninitiated the fascination for death is hard to understand. However, there are explainations. The concept death in art has a deeper and symbolic meaning than death in ordinary life. The playful exploration of death is also a way to process a difficult topic. And maybe death isn't the end. Maybe there's a life and an afterlife. This prospect has really shaped our behaviors and practices over the centuries. Do we go straight to heaven when we die or are we sent to purgatory or even some other place… maybe even straight to hell? The proverb "he who lives, shall see" doesn't really fit here. The lack of empirical evidence is disturbing. We will just have to wait and see.


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