Critical Analysis on "Godfather Death"

1020 words 5 pages

This story is a German fairy tale translated by Jacob Ludwig Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859), brothers born in Germany. The story centers on a 13th son born to a poor old man who can not afford to feed his new offspring. In order to provide for him the poor old man must choose a godfather for his son. He first meets God and dismisses him as a godfather because according to the old man, God is not a fair person. Later he comes across the Devil and again the old man dismisses him also because according to the old man the Devil tricks humans into sin. Finally he comes across the one ‘person' that he does accept to
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The young man becomes delusional, believing that he is above everything else that afflicts mankind. He plays with godfather Death, ignoring his feelings and warnings. This continues to the very end when Death has taken him to view the caves filled with the candles of all of mankind. After being shown his the young man begs his godfather to "light a new candle for me"; forgetting that he had twice defied his godfather's wishes and instructions, and believing that he should be entitled to favoritism since after all he is Death's godson.

The symbolism in this fairy tale is abundant, having Death as your godfather, being given the power of life or death, powers that no other human could have, being given a magic herb that could cure the sick, even those that Death wanted to take. In one way this made the young doctor almost a god, he could dispense health or death and just about as he wished but with consequences if he disobeyed Death wishes. The lesson here is seen by the folly of his actions, the doctor believes that he is above all earthly constraints and believes that he is indeed a god. The young doctor is placed in this situation on purpose. He is told that he can cure anyone as long as Death allows it but he is also given the choice to do as he pleases albeit with consequences. The young doctor ignores all warnings and ultimately has to pay for his folly with his own life. What the story does is to show us that we are all human. That we can not play