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Creatures of Death
The Other

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The personification of death as an enemy, a monster or an stranger has been prevalent. In the portrayals of death as the other it was ascribed the characteristics of the alien, the opposite of the familiar.

In the danses macabres or dances of death, death is assigned a rich multiplicity of guises, poses, and social conditions: as a fiddler, hunter, warrior, drummer, herald, or fool; on horseback, as Revelation's fourth horseman, but also as a knight or King Death; as a reaper, executioner, nobleman, or courtier; as a pilot, gambler, tobacconist, trencherman, groom, chamberlain, actor, wrestler, or butcher. Another mask that seventeenth-century writers fashioned for death was that of the fisherman: Death cast its net and sinker to capture his victim.

In other instances, Death become handsome, it is sometimes symbollically represented as a putto or a young man with a torch upside-down. In the late-medieval genre of the Triumph of Death, death may emerge as a noble Lady or Queen (Petrarch's "Donna La Morte") riding her classical chariot over mangled mortal remains.

copyright @ 2006 by DCPI