4. Evaluation 167
4. Evaluation In their death-poems Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti adopt a multitude of different perspectives and present an almost infinite variety of aspects, though concentrating on a single theme: both explore the physical as well as the psychological and emotional facets of death; both present death from the point of view of the living, the dying, and the dead; both focus on the multidimensional character of death - its ruthlessness and cruelty, its almighty destructive power, its inevitability and finality, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, also its levelling and equalizing effect, its security and safety, its instructive and liberating power, its rest and peace, as underlined by various personifications of death; both record the successive stages of the drama of death: the approach of death - the crucial moment when life and death hang in the balance - the actual act of dying - the necessary activities in the aftermath of death - the funeral - the onset of eternity; both run the full emotive range from joyful ecstasy to numb despair, from fearful awe to fascinated horror, from frustrated tension to hopeful release. As the individual chapters arranged under 3.1 to 3.6 have adequately shown, the analogies in their treatment of death become overridingly apparent in the general characteristics, both positive and negative, applied to death (chapter 3 .I), in the identificatory function of somebody else's death (chapter 3.2), in the gap between the living and the dead that ccumot be filled by anything...
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