Suicide In The 19th Century

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During the nineteenth century, society had drastically different viewpoints compared to today, and it wasn’t just on one topic, they varied. One of those topics was suicide, and from our readings of the appendices you get the understanding of how suicide was looked at during the 19th Century. Suicide back then was looked down upon, and if someone were to commit suicide, they would be deemed as insane. From William Rowleys’ excerpt in Appendix A, he says “The remote causes of suicide are similar to those of insanity-- perturbations of mind, or corporeal acrimony.” (Shelley 121) Rowley is comparing the reasons behind suicide to people who are insane and saying they share similarities. It was not just Rowley who thought like this either, society…show more content…
He believes he is a burden to life itself and that can be seen in the dramatic poem immediately. Though people view suicide as a crime or that it shares similarities to people who are insane, Manfred believes he is doing what is best for everyone, he is doing this act for the general good of society. From the start he states “My slumbers—if I slumber—are not sleep, But a continuance of enduring thought, Which then I can resist not: in my heart There is a vigil, and these eyes but close To look within; and yet I live, and bear The aspect and the form of breathing men.” (Byron 2) Manfred is clearly distraught and in pain yet he is living, which he believes he shouldn 't be. Throughout the poem he knows he has had a rough life and that there isn 't much to live for, and that is exactly why he thinks he should end his own life in order to benefit others. Wanting this is just another sign of how whiny he exactly is, always looking for attention and an audience. Manfred looks for all of this attention but believes by ending his own life he is doing right. And just like that after all his struggle, he finally gets what he wanted, he gets to remove himself from life in which he believes will benefit everyone else. “Old man! ’tis not so difficult to die.” (Byron 53) Manfred gets what he had wanted all along, he has committed the act that is looked down upon by many, but he…show more content…
Though he thinks he is such a large burden, he is so whiny and wants everyone to feel bad for him and his situation. Along with that Manfred has his struggle to even complete the act of suicide, which allows the eventual death to build up into something so dramatic. His last words are so simple yet impactful as well, saying “Old man! ’tis not so difficult to die.” (Byron 53) Just like that he was gone, after all of his misery and sorrow he finally contributed to society and commited the self-sacrifice that he has been waiting to
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