Symbolism of Godfather Death

Topics: Luck, Fiction, Short story Pages: 2 (908 words) Published: May 29, 2009
Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm wrote the short story “Godfather Death” in the early 1800’s. “Godfather Death” is a short story illustrating how one’s greed can overtake anything in life. The story speaks of a poor man that has twelve children and a thirteenth on the way. The poor man finds Death and asks if he will be the godfather of his thirteenth child. Death gladly accepts and takes the child as if he were his own, making him a well-known famous doctor. The doctor tries to cheat death not once, but twice when death finally decides that enough is enough. Symbolism plays a very significant role in “Godfather Death”. The spindle legged death shows just how significantly symbolism is used in this short story. The first sign of symbolism is that the child is the thirteenth born into his family. The number thirteen has been known to be associated with bad luck. The number thirteen being “unlucky” came from superstitions, myths, and folklores back from many centuries ago. Some believe that it comes from the biblical times, thirteen sat down to eat and one arose to betray Christ. Another belief is when people used to hang people for their crimes there was exactly 13 steps to the plat form where the drop off was. There are many different beliefs in why 13 is unlucky. Many people consider Friday the Thirteenth a day to stay inside and lock the doors, it is called Triskaidekaphobia, and many people get panic attacks and won’t leave their home because of the day. Many office buildings do not have a “13 floor”, if they have more than thirteen floors, many will not include the number thirteen. There are too many reasons to list why number thirteen is considered to be a very unlucky number, but in a lot of cases like “Godfather Death” it too was considered an unlucky number for the famous young doctor. Another symbolic instance is that there are four father figures three of them being a higher power, super-natural form; however they are not seen as that. when the father tells what...
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