The Black Act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain in 1723, in response to a series of raids by two groups of poachers, known as the Blacks. The Blacks gained their name from their habit of blacking their faces when undertaking poaching raids. The Black Act introduced the death penalty for over 50 criminal offences, including being found in a forest while disguised. It was an extremely severe piece of legislation. Following a criminal law reform campaign in the early 19th century, it was largely repealed on 8 July 1823, when a reform bill introduced by Robert Peel came into force.
Plato’s Phaedo is one of the his great dialogues, written in the same period as the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo depicts the death of Socrates. Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. He has been sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city. The dialogue is told from the perspective of one of Socrates' students, Phaedo of Elis. Socrates explores various arguments for the soul's immortality in order to show that there is an afterlife in which the soul will dwell following death.
Doctor Faustus is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil in return for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play.