The construction of the good death: A dramaturgy approach

Ronit D. Leichtentritt*, Kathryn D. Rettig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The study examines interview transcripts of 26 elderly Israelis who are describing their own death, using the dramaturgy analysis approach. The study identifies eight meaning-making strategies used to construct the "good death": using story in the form of drama; describing multiple scenarios; assuming the director and playwright roles in varying degrees; explaining what a good death is not; comparing previous experiences with death; using questions, similes, and metaphors; commenting with sarcastic remarks and black humor; and describing dreams. A composite drama, resulting from the stories of all participants, is presented in three acts, including the time prior to death, the imminent death, and the funeral. Each dramatic episode is constructed by descriptions of the script, purpose, action area, actors, and performances. The ultimate intent of a drama is to establish new meanings of dying and its aftermath for actors and audience, which is to maintain and promote continuity of one's identity, heritage, and legacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-103
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001


FundersFunder number
University of Minnesota52-054


    • Dramaturgy
    • Good death
    • Israel


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