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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

As the title lets us know, this poem is an epitaph. An epitaph is a short text either printed on a gravestone or written in honor of someone who is dead. There is no specific meter to this poem, wh...

Speaker

This poem leaves a lot up to the imagination. While we know that Octavio Paz wrote the poem, we don't have to confine our imaginations to think of Paz as the speaker. In fact, one of the quickest w...

Setting

The poem doesn't tell us a year or city where it takes place. Really, we get very little about the setting at all in this short poem. What we can say for sure, though, is that the poem describes a...

Sound Check

This poem sounds like the surface of a weathered tombstone. This smooth rough feeling comes from a poem that doesn't use big fancy words or seek out the prettiest words possible. This poem says wha...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of "Epitaph for an Old Woman" is key to our understanding of it. First, it tells us that this poem is meant to be an epitaph. An epitaph is a short text that is either printed on a graves...

Calling Card

Paz writes with simple, accessible language. Though his imagery relies heavily on imagery from the natural world, he also accesses the dreamlike world of the surreal. (Surrealism, in a nutshell, us...

Tough-o-Meter

This one is pretty straightforward. All that is needed to paddle these waters is a little bit of suspended disbelief and a mind that is open to the depths of emotions that come with a weighty topic...

Trivia

Octavio Paz was the first Mexican to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Way to go, O. (Source.) What can we say? The guy has class. Paz is so influential that there's even a charter school in Chicago name...

Steaminess Rating

Though a husband and wife are mentioned, there is no sexual content in this poem. There is some trembling going on here, though, which—depending on how you read—might indicate some sort of myst...

Allusions

The Bible (speaking of the dead as dust may refer to Genesis 3:19) (2)
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