Explain what a critic from the historical school would emphasize in "Godfather Death" by The Brothers Grimm.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The point of the historical school of criticism is to understand a piece of literature by understanding the complete context in which it was produced.  This school emphasizes how the work would have been perceived in its own time, not in ours.

A critic from this school would look at Godfather Death in the context of its own time.  This tale was recorded by the Brothers Grimm in the 1800s.  It is assumed, however, that the story is from long before then.

The main points of the story are the ambitions of the young doctor and his attempts to cheat death.  A critic from the historical school would look at how contemporaries would have seen these.

In the days when this tale was written death was something that would have seemed completely random and unpredictable since people had little understanding of what caused illnesses and because people's lives were so much more dangerous.  Therefore, a historical critic would probably emphasize that this tale is about trying to understand and defeat death and about the ultimate futility of that effort.

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