COWARDS DIE MANY DEATH
This was said in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It is a part of a speech by Caesar in reply to Calpurnia who warned that he should not go out as evil omens point to some danger to his life. Caesar refuses to agree and declares that death has no terror for him. He rises above cowardice and ignores the dangers. The world “fear”, he says, does not exist in his vocabulary. He throws a challenge at death and refuses to be frightened by it. He could never have been a greater soldier if he had fear of death.
Death is inevitable. Nobody has ever conquered death. Death comes to all-kings and beggars, rich and poor, princes in their places and paupers in their huts. Death lays its hand upon all creatures. It does so without distinction or discrimination. Knowing the omnipotence of death, it is a folly for a man to tremble with fear at the thought of it. It shows an utter lack of spirit to turn pale at the mention of death. It is extreme cowardice to shirk from the dangers of life and a mark of bravery to face them.
Constant fear haunts a coward. His heart sinks for fear of death which is like a sword of Damocles hanging over his head. The outbreak of war, a riot, the tremors of an earthquake, the prospect of famine or a flood-all these make the coward shudder with fear because he thinks that he will be the first target. If he stands on the sea-shore or a river-bank a wave of fear sweeps over him at the idea of being accidentally drowned. As he walks along a road, he is extra careful not to step down the pavement lest he should be run over by an omnibus. He knows that death pounces upon a man suddenly and in a variety of ways and therefore his life is a continuous nightmare. Every time he hears that someone has died, he thanks God on his own escape.
A coward suffers a thousand times more pain and agony at the imaginary prospect of death than by the event itself. For he meets his death many times in his imagination and endures all the horror connected with it. He even goes on to imagine the sufferings that are in store for him beyond grave.
As against this, a brave man maintains an attitude of defiance towards death. He realizes the fact that death must come sooner or later and that it is no use denying this fact. For death is an essential part of the scheme of things; this structure of clay and flesh must someday become a cold, insensitive and lifeless stock. It is, therefore, vain to pity oneself at the thought of death. Besides, with courage and resolution one may well evade death many times.
Death is only a natural consummation of life. It is true that premature death is tragic and that it is the prospect of dying before time that strikes terror into the hearts of most people. But if one is to die prematurely, no complaining or self-pity can alter the fact. No one can foresee accidents, epidemics and other forms of sudden death. It is, therefore, meaningless to fear; it is wise to preserve an attitude of tranquility and serenity always.