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History of Suicide (Research Paper Sample)


History of suicide. How it has evolved. Who came up with the concept


Since time immemorial, people have been committing suicide; suicide can be described as a self-inflicted death that is considered negative. However in some circumstances killing oneself was considered as acceptable. Suicide is viewed in different perspective; this essay looks at the history of suicide, and how suicide has evolved and who came up with the concept.
History of suicide
In the ancient times, suicide was viewed differently by communities, for example in Europe during the Roman Empire suicide was approved and to an extent viewed as an honorable act. Some of the Roman philosophers praised suicide as an act of freeing human and had legitimate reasons for it. For Egyptians, suicide was a way of dying when one is faced with unendurable suffering. Egyptians believed in Martyrdom when one was faced with civil or religious persecution. Not everyone agreed with this view, one of the Greek philosophers Socrates believed that human beings were God's property. Therefore, no one had the right to take away his life (Jacob Crouch Foundation, 2011).
Not all Greeks agreed with Socrates view; some leaders encouraged their followers to die by suicide when they could not find happiness. The Roman community even trained technicians who performed assisted suicide for those who desired to die as a way of escaping an unbearable existence, or releasing their loved ones from the burden associated with caring for the sick or elderly. This meant that there was no judgment attached to such death. Early Christians believed that choosing suicide was better than facing the difficult life of religious persecution. Some Christians preferred self-death as a goal for genuine religious desire. That is why there were several incidences of mass suicides and Christian martyrs (Jacob Crouch Foundation, 2011).
The act of suicide became shameful and feared for the next decades because Jews forbid eulogies and public mourning for those who committed suicide .The first Christian, who denounced suicide, was St. Augustine followed by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. Aquinas vilified suicide as an act against God will and also denounced suicide as a sin basing his argument on the Bible teachings .Aquinas reproach on suicide resulted in civil laws that discouraged suicide.
In the middle of the decade, suicide was viewed as a social stigma .If a person was died by his hand, he was not permitted to be given a proper burial. Customs of disgrace was performed to the deceased to cause fear. When one committed suicide, his body would be dragged through the street, with the head being placed on a pole outside the city gates to act as a warning to others. His body would be thrown away for animals to consume. To make matters worse the deceased property and all of his family would be confiscated and anyone who attempted to commit suicide would be arrested, ashamed publicly then sentenced to death. As result suicide cases reduced (Jacob Crouch Foundation, 2011).
During the Renaissance period around the 16th century, the long- held view about suicide started being questioned and was challenged. Many societies started embracing new ways of appreciating life and taking responsibility. Several religious leaders questioned church doctrines eventually splitting the Catholic Church to from Protestant denomination. By the 18th century, suicide became a topic of social interest that could be viewed through art, theater among another expression. Some of these works can be seen in William Shakespeare writings. Most of Shakespeare character died by their own .Shakespeare reflected the concepts of depression, escape from shame and disgrace and pain (Jacob Crouch Foundation, 2011).
Shakespeare reminded the society that suicide was truly part of living .Also one of, the English poets Jo...
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