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Proem

Proem

by Octavio Paz

Analysis: Allusions

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

  • Epicurus, ancient Greek philosopher who ran a philosophy called the Garden (9)
  • Netzahualcoyotl, king of the Texcoco city-state in pre-Hispanic Mexico who was also a philosopher and poet (9)
  • Vicente Huidobro, Altazor, or A Voyage in a Parachute: This long poem is one of the most important avant-garde works in Latin American literature. In it, the poetic speaker goes on a falling journey through language, beginning with full sentences, passing through made-up words, and ending in pure vowel sounds. (4)
  • Plato, The Republic: A philosophical text that contains the allegory of the cave, in which people look at shadows dancing on a wall cast by the true forms dancing in front of a fire. This is a metaphor for the way we humans see the world in copies or imitations. (10)

Biblical References

  • Genesis 7:12, "The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights." (5-6)
  • Matthew 4:2, "After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, he finally became hungry." (5-6)

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