Joseph Addison

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Discuss the philosophical thought brought out in the essay "Meditation in Westminster Abbey."

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The essay "Meditation in Westminster Abbey" discusses the ways that peoples's lives are so often memorialized simply by their deaths. This is true in the ways that gravestones only depict the dates of someone's birth and death and no other information about them, and it is also true in the way that heroes in stories often have no life outside the epic but life-ending battles told on the page. These thoughts lead into musings about how, in death, everyone is finally alike and all differences are lost. Finally, Addison spends time thinking about those who are not forgotten entirely and about the ways that their friends choose to describe them in death. These friend's memories, he reflects, still offer very little connection to the essence of people, at least on the whole. He seems to distinctly prefer monuments that try to show people as they were instead of simply as they are remembered.

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