"of a girl who is both death and the maiden"


 'Death and the Maiden' is a theme which has been represented in art, music and literature for a long time.  It is thought to have its roots in the ancient Greek myth of Persephone; she was a beautiful young woman who was abducted and taken to the Underworld by Hades, the god of Death.  It is used to explore connections between death and sexuality, as the maiden's youth and beauty suggest life in its purest and most unsullied form.  Franz Schubert composed a String Quartet called 'Death and the Maiden' in 1824, when facing his own mortality after becoming seriously ill.  He had visited the theme before, having been inspired by a poem by Matthias Claudias.  It has also been the title of well known paintings by Hans Baldung Grien, Edvard Munch and Puvis de Chavannes, and a play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman