Why Does the Titantic Live On, 100 Years After the Tragedy?

Last week's 3-D release of James Cameron’s epic drama “Titanic” coincided with theopening of a new Titanic museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland where the great ship was built. The most publicized commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic is a special cruise ship set to carry the same number of people to the place in the mid-Atlantic where the ship sank at exactly the same time to mark the tragedy.

On the calm night of April 14, 1912, the maiden voyage of the legendary ship Titanic was disrupted when the ship hit an iceberg. The great ship, once thought unsinkable, sank within hours, disappearing into the abyss of the North Atlantic. Since then, people have been fascinated and captivated by the legend of Titanic. Interestingly, the legend has not faded into oblivion. It remains in people’s minds as the biggest human drama from the late Gilded Age. Why is the Titanic still so alluring and interesting?

Kate Winslet, one of the stars of Cameron’s “Titanic," commented in her interview with the BBC that “people are still fascinated by the Titanic because of the human tragedy which was a captivating backdrop." The film itself increased people’s interest in the story, as have the numerous museums, books, and documentaries intended to preserve memorable scenes from the ship. The stories of the Titanic — diverse people from around different backgrounds all aboard the same ship, the half-filled lifeboats — are filled with social drama. The head of the company which operated the Titanic, J. Bruce Ismay, left the ship, leaving its desparate passengers doomed to death. The survivors were mainly women and children from the first class, proof of the priority of one class over another.

We should not forget that the Titanic was merely one example of such tragedy. Another ship, the Lusitania was torpedoed by Germans in 1915, costing 1,200 people their lives. Millions of people have perished since the Titanic sank, but nothing touches people as the story of the Titanic does.

Undoubtedly, the human tragedy of the Titanic plays an immense role in keeping the famous ship's memory alive, but I would say the Titanic itself, the myth of the unsinkable liner, has become a legend. The uniqueness, excessive pride, and grandeur of the Titanic and the mystique of its lost era, make it “unsinkable,' if only in the memories and hearts of people.