Tragedy – Tod und Frau by Käthe Kollwitz

Tod und Frau by Käthe Kollwitz ©The Trustees of the British Museum

Gripped by her fate, the woman succumbs. Half-alive, half-deceased, she leaves her body and her soul in the hands of Death and Life.
Death, materialized by a skeleton, hangs to her waist, his bones seizing her legs.
Life, in the form of an infant, representing youth and years of existence ahead attempts to reach her face.

“Come with me, Lady. Where I am taking you there are no feelings, hardships or worries. Your soul will be iced and will never trouble you, never again.”

“You need to live, my darling! The future holds brighter days. I promise you do not always have to feel this way. I know you are aching but think of all the human beings who love you. Love them in return, please, my darling, you deserve to live.”

“Suffering is painful and it hurts your little heart to breathe, I know. Come with me to the land where it never cries, never aches, never feels. Get rid of this body, this shield which doesn’t protect you but hides you from the world, where your grieve.”

“No! This body is magnificent, it expresses who you are and allows you to communicate, love and live. I can show you the way out from your misery, if you could only look at me.”

“You are already gone, just follow my footsteps and it will be undoubtedly over. Life is too long to endure agony. Why are you inflicting this on yourself? Come my way, and I will end everything for you.”

Death conquered the woman’s soul and convinced her to take her life away. Life rushed over to her loved ones and, to this day, consoles and cajoles them incessantly. For it promised itself that they would never witness another tragedy.


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