Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 1997

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The natural end of every human life is death. Some

people, for reasons that have never been fully understood,

choose to end their own lives. This is called suicide, which

means literally 'self-killing.' For all the uncertainty

that has surrounded the phenomenon of suicide, his

assessment of the problem is probably as accurate as any.

The individual, in seemingly hopeless conflict with the

world, decides to end his or her existence in what amounts

to a final assault against a society that can no longer be

tolerated. In so doing, the person tries to obtain a final

revenge on everything and everyone that have caused their

feelings of depression.

Sometimes suicide has been used as a form of execution.

Perhaps the most famous such case is that of the philosopher

Socrates, who was required to drink hemlock to end his life

in 399 BC, after being found guilty of corrupting the youth

of Athens.

In the 20th century the German general Erwin

Rommel took poison rather than be executed for his role in a

plot to oust Adolf Hitler from office.

In some societies suicide has had social ties. In Japan,

for example, the customs and rules of one's class have

demanded suicide under certain circumstances. Called seppuku

or popularly known as hara-kiri, which means 'self-

disembowelment' it has long been viewed as an honorable

method of taking one's life. It was used by warriors after

losing a battle to avoid the dishonor of defeat. Seppuku was

also used as a means of capital punishment to spare warriors

the disgrace of execution. In India, widows allowed

themselves to be burned to death on their husband's funeral

pyre, a practice called suttee.

At least since the 18th century, suicide has been thought

of by some as a romantic type of death.