When any person from our family, or a friend dies, we need to commemorate his or her memory. For this, we use an epitaph, that's a brief writing or pronouncing inscribed on a grave. Generally, it is a brief composition, having figurative sense in a verse or in prose shape, written to pay tribute to a deceased person, or to recall a beyond event.
Strictly speaking, an epitaph is a brief text on a plaque or tombstone, honoring a lifeless person. It is derived from the Greek phrase epitaphios, which means “funeral oration.” Many poets and authors, inclusive of William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Oscar Wilde, and John Keats have written their personal epitaphs prior to their deaths.
Epitaph and Eulogy
An epitaph and a eulogy have a similar function, which is to pay tribute to the useless. However, they are also different, as an epitaph is a brief and concise commemorative inscription engraved at the tombstone of a lifeless person; whilst a eulogy is a spoken or piece written in reward of a useless person, generally given on the funeral. A eulogy can also be used for a living person, because it carries stories, anecdotes, and recollections of the individual. An epitaph, on the opposite hand, is just an honoring poem or an inscription written at the tombstone.
Examples of Epitaph in Literature
The use of epitaph flourished at some point of the seventeenth century whilst writers struggled over the cultural importance in their lifeless ones. However, later within the eighteenth and 19th centuries, many ways had been adopted to validate its significance and, therefore, renowned writers wrote their epitaphs before their death. Here we've a list of some precise epitaphs:
Example #1: Oscar Wilde’s Epitaph
Wilde’s epitaph is inscribed on his headstone in a totally sentimental verse. It reads:
“And alien tears will fill for him,
Pity’s long-damaged urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.”
This epitaph is from his famous poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The poem describes that death is also like a jail sentence. Further, he adds a witty declaration that in the grave “the food in right here is awful.”
Example #2: Robert Frost’s Epitaph
Robert Frost wrote his epitaph a few years previous to his death. He took the closing traces from the poem The Lesson for Today, which read as:
“And had been an epitaph to be my story
I’d have a quick one prepared for my very own.
I might have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”
Unfortunately, most of lovers can not make up their love. However, Frost was nearly close to being executed along with his love, when he surpassed away at the age of 88. This quote gives an apt presentation by using the poet.
Example #3: William Butler Yeats’ Epitaph
Yeats in penned his epitaph, which reads:
“Cast a chilly Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, skip with the aid of!”
It seems that he's giving advice to his readers to now not dangle lower back over his corpse for a very lengthy time, however the words have as a substitute deep meaning. He had taken those lines from the poem Under Ben Bulben. This is one among the most popular modern epitaphs.
Example #4: William Shakespeare’s Epitaph
“Good friend for Jesus’ sake forebeare,
To dig the dirt enclosed here.
Blessed be the person that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that movements my bones.”
Shakespeare had given a prediction that somebody would possibly dig up his grave and, due to this fear, he composed his epitaph in verse shape before his death. This poem is chiseled on his gravestone.
Example #5: Sylvia Plath’s Epitaph
Sylvia Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes, had chosen her epitaph, which is engraved on her gravestone. It reads:
“Even amidst fierce flames, the golden lotus can be planted.”
Function of Epitaph
The major feature of writing an epitaph is to praise and pay tribute to a deceased person. It is used to provide an example of virtue and goodness, how a tomb of the best humans should serve to offer a sense of their presence. In addition, a veneration of a dead person’s memories could produce comparable effects, as we'd see in his or her presence. Another function is to let the audience recognise and warn them that their lives also are mortal like their predecessors. Finally, it preserves history, because it suggests ancestral relationships, dates of start and death, and accomplishments of the deceased persons.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw