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The Concept of Death and Afterlife in W.B.Yeat's Byzantium and Sailing to Byzantium by Purwarno

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I. INTRODUCTION

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.

II. RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES INVOLVED
2.1 Christian Doctrine
On the matter of death, according to Christian doctrine of man, God created hu...


... middle of paper ...


... go through relieving its earthly life and will be purified in purgatory. All the evil deeds in human soul will be cleansing so that the soul becomes good and pure again and after that the soul will be united with the body again and he rebirth to lead on earthly life. All the evil deeds and good deeds done in the previous life will done in the previous life will determine the condition of the present life, be it good or bad.
The above concept of Yeats no doubt is idealized by him from mixing up the two doctrines: Christian and Hinduism. In fact there is no incarnation in Christian doctrine of man. When a man dies he will go for spiritual journey to heaven (of course after cleansing in purgatory) as suggested by the title Sailing to Byzantium. But W. B. Yeats is so impressed and influenced by Hinduism and may be his love for earthly life so he wants to be incarnated.


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