Origin: The origin of this proverb is William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Shakespeare’s Julias Caesar said, “Cowards die many times before their death” to brush aside his wife’s fears and superstitions. He declared this with the assertion that the valiant would never taste of death but once.
Meaning: The saying cowards die many times before their deaths means that ‘being afraid of death would affect the emotional health negatively’.
This is because imagining death makes a person ‘die’ in his mind many times before he would actually die.
So, this proverb is exhorting us to be brave. Specifically, it is exhorting us not to fear death because fearing death is:
- Able to make death worse.
- Like dying many times.
- A waste of time.
Expansion of idea: Man in mortal and one day he must die. A courageous man will die but once. But the cowards experience death-like suffering thousands of times in their life before actual death.
Cowards move always under the shadow of fear of death. They fear their car to turn turtle, their vessel to capsize, their plane to catch fire, and their house-roof to fall down. They feel death lying in waiting for them in all conceivable corners with the result that they feel shaky and diffident in any enterprise.
A brave man takes up a cause and fights for it unto the last. He never flinches from it for fear of consequences and thus the valiant alone wins the laurels of victory.
Teachings from the proverb:
- The proverb encourages us to think of things other than death.
- Living life to the full. Instead of worrying about death all the time – enjoy life!
- This saying puts things in perspective: we only die once, so why die more times in our imagination?
- Exhorting us to be brave. Remember this proverb whenever you need to summon up your courage.
Conclusion: This is a saying telling us that it is better to be brave in the fact of death. If we can free ourselves from the fear of death, then we will be truly free.