One of my favorite movies has to be the movie “300”, it’s full of action, more action, and don’t forget the action. A majority of us may remember the plot, but here is a quick refresher if you forgot or just never knew in the first place. We start off with a King Leonidas, ruler of Sparta kicking a messenger into a massive bottomless pit. The reason, he told the Spartan king to resign his thrown by the order of the power hungry Xerxes, King of the Persians. Leonidas decides to formulate a plan in which 300 well trained Spartans would go the Thermopylae territory to bottle-neck the invading Persian army and “hopefully” defeat them. High moral and determination drives the Spartans to engage in a multiplicity of savage, brutal onslaughts. Eventually, due to “Persian Persuasion”, traitors are found both within the Spartan council back home and with some of the Spartan allies; basically, they told Xerxes about a secret path to get the upper hand on the Spartans. From this point on the Spartans begin to face a steep decline in their success and ultimately the 300 Spartans are left no more. But during one of the last action scenes, where Kind Leonidas and his dying men are shrouded in arrows, the language used by the actors and narrator really sums up some important points on how we today can/do look at death; I’ll explain further.
Perspectives on death and dying can change with experience and the knowledge of what it is. We can watch TV shows like “1000 Ways to Die” and laugh about these ironically tragic deaths or cry like a baby while watching the movie “The Notebook”, but is that really how death and dying is? To me, death and dying can be an array of things and depending on what “kind” of experiences with death you have it could be possible to influence how you view it. The movie “300” accentuates courage and longevity, yet King Leonidas wishes that one of his traitors “lives forever”, as Leonidas is kneeling to the Persian king prior to his death. The Persian King is considered a God throughout the movie, but after Leonidas hurls a spear at him cutting his face, Xerxes facial reactions clearly show emotions of a mortal man; not of a God since Gods don’t bleed according to Xerxes.
Each of these situations reinforces the idea that no one is immortal and that life should be cherished even in the presence of death. One of Leonidas’s men, with two arrows in his chest, creeps to his side and says, “It’s an honor to die at your side”, Leonidas responds, “It’s an honor to have lived by yours”; once again embracing life and not accepting death, until they are consumed by arrows. This movie touches on the optimistic and pessimistic views that many people have about death today. The fear of death has spread to many people in our society today, but how is it so simple for those 300 Spartans to accept dying as if it was living? I would believe that a majority of our population denies death and the other majority does not, but through experience and acceptance of life and death we can be as strong as King Leonidas and his Spartans.
Check the clip out from the movie!