A eulogy is a prayer or public speech delivered in honor and praise of a deceased person, usually during his or her funeral ceremony or at a memorial service to commemorate their life.
The word "eulogy" itself is derived from ancient Greek, and means "good words," in accordance with the practice of never speaking ill of the dead. Eulogies are typically spoken out loud but may also be published in a newspaper or online, depending on the importance of deceased person.
There is no standard form for a eulogy, but it is common practice to emphasize the positive character traits of the deceased - such as honesty, a love of family, a sense of humor - and to recount shared significant experiences that exemplify these traits, as well as landmarks in his or her life. Obviously, no person is perfect but it has been said that death pays all debts - and so it would be considered very bad form for a eulogy to touch on the negative aspects and misdeeds of a person's life. Eulogies are for praise, not for criticism. or the airing of grievances.
Eulogies have been a part of funeral customs for thousands of years, and we can find examples of them in classical Greece, in ancient Rome, and even in the Bible. Some eulogies have survived the centuries, as examples of the highest poetical expression. Examples include the speech by the Greek leader, Pericles (5th century BC) who gave a moving eulogy in honor of the victims of the Pelopnnesian war between Athens and Sparta. Obituaries world famous. Another brilliant eulogy appears in the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare, where Mark Anthony eulogizes Julius Caesar in such a moving way that he convinces the people of Rome to avenge the murder of Caesar by Cassius and Brutus.
A more recent example of a classic eulogy is President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which eulogized the Union soldiers who had died at the Battle of Gettysburg in defence of the Union. Another famous eulogy is a poem by the American poet Walt Whitman "O Captain! My Captain!", in which he laments the leader of the American nation, Lincoln, that was killed by an assassin.
A eulogies is not to be confused with