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Death, Religion, and the Family in England,
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Ralph Houlbrooke

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208761.001.0001

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Good Deaths and Bad

Good Deaths and Bad

(p.183) 7 Good Deaths and Bad
Death, Religion, and the Family in England, 1480–1750

Ralph Houlbrooke

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the achievement of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ deaths. The Christian form of the ideal of the ‘good death’, rooted in the Middle Ages, survived throughout early modern times. It included certain elements which transcended confessional and denominational boundaries. The achievement of a ‘good’ death transformed the process of dying from tragedy into triumph. Both the individual at the centre of the drama and the members of the audience might be reassured and sustained.

Keywords:   good death, bad death, deathbed, Christianity

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