The “Good Death” in Faustus

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Literature ・MLA ・1 Sources

As a method of preparing one's body for mortality, ""Good Death"" is described by Faust. The idea of an honorable death emerged during the American Civil War. A soldier would be at home rather than on the battlefield during favorable death times. The soldier was prepared and ready to die, and he was surrounded by family. The soldier would say that he has encountered a Savior and anticipates being taken to paradise. Before the onset of good death, the soldier was expected to settle all outstanding debts with his family, make preparations for his burial, draft a will, and come to terms with them regarding his departure. Soldiers would express their willingness to die, accept their Lord as their Savior, and hopefully be with their family at the time of burial. Faithfull soldiers awaited for “Good death” when the end approached.

The experience of the “Good Death” is the understanding in living the way one wanted to live. If an individual was happy with the way their journey is taking them, then one can expect to move on with a “Good Death.” The aftermath of these events involved professional counseling and collective counseling facilitated by senior leaders (Faust 67). During the collective sessions, Soldiers and leaders were accorded the opportunity to speak their mind about dying. The groups consisted of all male Soldiers, and they all understood their positions and thought they were prepared to give the ultimate sacrifice for their duties. The interesting issues were the Soldiers were not prepared to lose their friends without warning. According to Faust, the experiences of good death infused the American culture in the 19th century.

American Burial Customs

Before the Civil War American burial customs were done with the upmost dignity and respect for the dead. It was the best example of the Good Death where members of the deceased family could lay their loved ones to rest. It was more accustomed before the start of the Civil War that a member who died would be in their home (Faust. 9). Faust said that “Redemption and resurrection of the body were understood as physical, not just metaphysical” which meant people believed the body lived on and it was a “surviving identity” of the lost person (Faust 60). The Protestant Christian doctrine at the time stated that the body of the deceased that was buried would be raised at the time of judgment. So in burial the physical body of the deceased “required “sacred reverence and care”; the absence of such solicitude would indicate “a demoralized and rapidly demoralizing community” (Faust 62). The body was not only the identity of a person it was also the capsule to eternal life. This required a “decent” burial and “rituals fitting for the dead” (Faust 62). People died Good Death, with loved ones present. They were buried properly and were grieved for properly. People were laid in coffins, and there were sermons and songs for the deceased. This was all to help the surviving members the deceased left behind. American views and rituals regarding dying, death, and burial changed considerably due to the Civil War and did so in a very swift manner. These changes were ones of necessity not necessarily by choice. Pre-war dying, death, and burial were a private Family matter. The dying were well attended and surrounded by Family. Death meant somebody’s spirit went to heaven with God. Burials were planned, and the bodies were placed in Family plots or local cemeteries with caskets and headstones.

Work Cited

Faust, D. G. This Republic Of Suffering Death and the American Civil War. Toronto, Canada: Vintage Book. 2008.

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