The Grim Reaper, also known as "The Reaper", is one of the many personified versions of Death, the being was heavily used during the medieval period and came to symbolize death as well as a fear of the unknown. Today the Grim Reaper remains the most recognized omni-neutral death-deity of all time, although the entity is not a true deity. Rather, it is a symbolic creature.
The concept of Death as a personified being is timeless, being as old as time itself but the grim figure of a hooded skeleton carrying a scythe was not very evident until the medieval period. During a time where morality was seen as pivotal to society and fear of the unknown was high it was perhaps unsurprising that life's greatest mystery (death) would come to be vied in the medieval mind as frightening and ever-present, the ghostly phantom of Death became known in time as the Grim Reaper and although a neutral force was as feared in the past as it is today, but today the Grim Reaper is viewed a needed being, just as death is necessary to keep humanity from overpopulation.
The Grim Reaper was seen as a collector of souls, the messenger of the dead and most important of every guide that came to all mortals. It was not the Grim Reaper's place to judge souls, nor was it the entity's role to aid or hinder mortal affairs. Put simply, the Grim Reaper's task was to appear to the dying and guide them to their final destination where they would be judged accordingly by higher powers.
Although the Grim Reaper normally comes to those already dying, it has been noted that on rare occasions the Grim Reaper has the power to kill someone, though the entity occasionally does this out of malice. Due to the Grim Reaper appearing in a vaguely human form, there are many tales in which the entity can be tricked or bribed into freeing a person (which is where the phrase "cheating death" likely came from). However, for the most part, the Grim Reaper was seen as unable to be reasoned with and an inevitable part of being human.
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