Study Guide

Piedra de sol Analysis

By Octavio Paz

  • Sound Check

    When you read "Piedra de sol" aloud, you might notice that you automatically swing into a cadence-like rhythm. There are no periods (even though there are some question marks in there) and most of the poem is made up of lists. This gives it a sort of a swinging feel.

    You try: "a crystal willow, a poplar of water, / a tall fountain the wind arches over, / a tree deep-rooted yet dancing still." The fact that there are no verbs, just subjects, means you never arrive, so you never give your voice that downward direction that means "this is the end of the sentence." The effect is kind of hypnotic, because it goes on for a lot of lines. And even when it ends, it just circles back to the beginning and starts the whole process over again.

    Another important technique used here is repetition: there are many words and phrases that get repeated several times within the same line or stanza, and this, too, gives the poem a you-are-getting-very-sleepy power that just might have something to do with its dreamy, deathly themes.

    Check this out:

    body of light filtered through an agate,
    thighs of light, belly of light, the bays,
    the solar rock, cloud-colored body,
    color of a brisk and leaping day,
    the hour sparkles and has a body,
    the world is visible through your body,
    transparent through your transparency.
    (25-33)

    See what we mean? So much repetition makes the poem almost fold back onto itself. It makes you lose your orientation a bit and not know which way is backward and which way is forward. This puts you into a similar state of mind as the speaker, who can't tell past from present from future.

    Sounds in Spanish

    A lot of the editions of "Piedra de sol" are bilingual, so in the privacy of your own home (or, heck, on the bus if you want) give it a go and try reading the Spanish out loud. Even if you don't know what you're saying, try to feel the rhythm of the poem. Look back at "Form and Meter" for the rundown on the way the accents fall—the poem is written in a really regular meter where every other syllable is stressed. This gives it an almost song- or chant-like feeling, kind of like the hypnotic one you get in the translation. And that should help you pronounce those Spanish lines the way they were made to be said.

  • What's Up With the Title?

    "Piedra de sol" or "Sunstone" refers to the round, gigantic, stone Aztec calendars. The poem is inspired by the circularity of the Aztec year, and the way that events repeat in a cycle. Therefore, the poem is circular—it begins and ends the same way, and also goes through a cycle of death and rebirth, like the seasons of the calendar. In the Venus-based calendar (there were a few different calendars, but this one measured Venus' orbit), there were 584 days in a year—the exact number of lines in this poem (in the original Spanish). Nifty, no?

    There are a lot of ways to think about why Paz might have decided to structure his poem this way. Since the calendar is based on Venus, and the poem is about a forgotten/remembered love, there might be an erotic connection between the love goddess Venus and the beloved in the poem.

    Another explanation is that the poem itself symbolizes death and rebirth in a never-ending cycle. The poem's getting back to the forgotten moment relies on the belief that death isn't the end—that there is a way to be reunited with the beloved. The calendar, with its repetition every year, is a way of finding that reassurance.

    And one more thing we could think about is the way that Aztec culture is, in some ways, buried in Mexico's history, like the not-quite-forgotten affair in the poem. The Spaniards may have conquered America, but they didn't wipe its history off the map, and the poem touches those cultural memories as a way of connecting with the past.

    These are just a few interpretations of the title and structure—can you think of any other good reasons that the poem might be based on the calendar?

  • Setting

    The real setting from where the speaker seems to be speaking is in his own meditative mind, or in the room where he writes. This might have something to do with that surrealist crowd that Octavio Paz was known to hang out with. These were a group of artists, many of them French, that were convinced that dreams and the occult were a great way to get creative material.

    So the idea of a writer digging way back into his subconscious memory is a perfect surrealist mission. Also, Melusina, who gets quite a lot of mentions in the poem, is the alter-ego of the title character in Andre Breton's surrealist novel Nadja, so we know that Paz was at least nodding in surrealism's general direction when he wrote this puppy. Sure, the setting may be the speakers mind, but the artistic context in which this poem was created is a bit easier to pin down.

    Meandering in the Mind's Memory

    The speaker is in a sort of hypnotic, Zen-like meditation, and it seems that sometimes he might even be dead or close to it. We get to travel through the "door of being" with him to new life, so you might even think that the setting includes the womb and the tomb. At the same time, the speaker talks a lot about walls, rooms, hotel rooms, and corridors, which can be related to the trapped feeling he has when he can't go back in time.

    But he escapes that place through memory and takes the reader all over the place: Paris, Madrid, New York, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Veracruz, as well as some unnamed seashores and even to the clouds. There is a lot of emphasis on seasons, and autumn is the important one, because it is when the memory he is trying so hard to recall took place. Plus there's that direct reference to 1937 in Madrid, which tells the reader that the Spanish Civil War was important to this speaker somehow—yet another hint at the cultural and historical context out of which this poem was born.

  • Speaker

    The speaker of this poem never gets a name, but we do get to know a little bit about him. We're calling him a him because of the masculine adjectives he uses to describe himself in the original Spanish—for example, "caigo en mí mismo" ("I fall in myself" [529]). The word mismo ends in the masculine "o," so we know this dude's a, well, dude.

    He is the one who struggles to remember his lost love ("I search for an instant alive as a bird," [95]), and who suffers, dying ("collect / my scattered dust and reconcile my ashes," [530-531]) and is finally reborn ("it tore apart my closed lids, / cut loose my being from its wrappers, / and pulled me out of myself to wake me / from this animal sleep and its centuries of stone," [570-573]).

    There are clues that the speaker has lived or spent time in Mexico, Spain, France, and the US—he has memories of spending time with girls in several cities in those countries, as well as of the Spanish Civil War. (See lines 248-296.)

    We know he's pretty romantic, and also that he has experienced deep loss. Toward the end of the poem, in Lines 469-518, the speaker almost seems to split into two, as he asks and answers questions with phrases set off by dashes.

    The thing is, this is when the speaker is getting into some deep meditation and observing himself with his mind's eye, and also when he starts to get into a communion with the whole universe. So it's safe to say it's still the same speaker, just a little more enlightened. The most important things to this speaker seem to be youth, memory, death, and rebirth.

  • Tough-o-Meter

    (6) Tree Line

    "Piedra de sol" is a long hike, but at least it's circular and not out-and-back. While some of the abstract images may let you get distracted, try to watch your step and keep going—it gets harder before it gets easier. But by the end you'll be glad of the trek.

  • Calling Card

    Abstract, Natural Elements

    Octavio Paz was a sucker for basic elements of nature. One of his other poems is called "Water and Wind and Stone," and he loves to weave and repeat these types of images through his work to give them a more universal, timeless feeling. When you read things like "writing of the sea on basalt rock, / writing of the wind on desert sand" (133-134), you are reading classic Paz. But what's really cool is the way he brings these universal images to modern life.

  • Form and Meter

    Hendecasyllabic Free Verse

    Hendecawhat?

    Yep, you heard us. "Piedra de sol" is made up of 584 hendecasyllabic lines (that's the fancy pants way of saying that each line has eleven syllables) in the original Spanish (English translations vary). This meter comes from ancient Greek and Latin poetry, and was used in medieval and modern European poetry. In other words, it's super traditional. Think of it as the iambic pentameter of Romance languages.

    Maybe Paz is trying to show the European tradition that is so important in Mexico, and that kind of took over the Aztec and other native cultures. He's putting ancient, indigenous content into a European context. The effect is kind of hypnotic, and also reminds the reader of the mix of cultures present in Mexico in the 20th century, when Paz wrote the poem.

    We know, it can be hard to learn a meter without hearing and seeing it in action, so check out the first line of the poem in its original Spanish:

    un sauce de cristal, un chopo de agua,

    In Spanish the "de" and the first syllable of "agua" are smooshed together to create one super-syllable, so the final count is eleven syllables, with five stressed ones.

    There are a few line breaks, which split the lines before they reach eleven syllables, but Paz keeps the meter going by indenting the next line. We count these broken lines as one line to give props to the form. The strict hendecasyllable also creates a lot of enjambment, which is when the line breaks in the middle of a clause. But that's no matter here, as the entire poem is one circular, ever-continuing sentence. Sure, the enjambment can be a bit jarring to read, but it forces the reader to continue—you can't just cut off a line and stop and come back later. The lines keep coming, because they're all connected, like the days and seasons of the year.

    As a last note on form, check out those stanzas. Notice anything? They're of varying length, though the longest ones come at the end of the poem. You might say that Paz is mimicking the varying lengths of days through the year, with the seasons (after all, he does mention the seasons in order). Or you could argue that the poem builds to a kind of crescendo, with each stanza stretching a bit longer than the last as you get deeper into the poem. Whatever the case, this, along with the enjambment, are ways that the poem's structure gives us a clue as to what its meaning is. It's not just content, but also form, that can tell us what's going on.

  • Water

    Think more Blue Lagoon than Waterworld. The water images in this poem are all about love. Many of the water images come at the beginning of the poem, which could be related to springtime and new life. They also are almost always related to the beloved—she is often compared to water, rain, and bodies of water. When you consider the fact that water brings life to the world, you'll understand the importance the speaker is giving to his beloved by comparing her to that source.

    • Lines 1-2, 4-6: All of these images of water involve a curve or a doubling back, which gives them a circular shape, like the structure of the poem. 
    • Lines 9-13: The water in these lines has the power to tell the future, and is all-encompassing. The "reign of green" is a metaphor for the sea.
    • Lines 58-64: The beloved's body parts all "rain" onto the speaker, as though they were bringing him to life. 
    • Line 65: The speaker compares the beloved's body to a river in a simile. We're betting she takes that as a compliment.
    • Line 107: The balconies of rain connect the adolescent girl to the lover described earlier, who rained onto the speaker. 
    • Line 133: The sea is personified here and given the power to write on stone, which reminds us of the speaker, who also writes. 
    • Line 181: Time is compared to the sea, which comes back and forth with the tide, in a metaphor
    • Lines 189-190: Here water, which we have seen is usually related to life, gets into a battle with fire, which is related to death. The speaker is burning and searching for water, but finds none because the lover is dead. 
    • Lines 402-403: The beloved is compared to a river in this metaphor, perhaps in a reference to life yet again. 
    • Lines 406-407: Since the speaker is remembering his beloved as alive, the sea simile returns. 
    • Lines 416-420: In this extended metaphor, the body and soul are compared to ships set adrift in the ocean.
  • Time

    Since we already know the poem's structure is based on an ancient calendar, it shouldn't be such a surprise that time is a key player here. Everything from Time, like the scary infinity that keeps you up at night or the plain old month of October, gets mentioned in "Piedra de sol." The images have a chronological order that sort of mimics the calendar, too.

    • Line 7: Spring is the first season mentioned in the poem, and is a time when things grow. Let's enjoy this calm, fertile moment before everything hits the fan.
    • Line 15: Here time is represented with the metaphor of the path—always heading into the future.
    • Lines 28-29: Time is personified here as having a body. This might explain why Time practically feels like a character here, popping up every few lines or so to do its thing.
    • Line 48: Noon rules like a king over the city-body, but is unaware of what is going on there. 
    • Line 74: Memory is a place where past summers rot. And there's the second season mentioned in the poem. 
    • Lines 87-88: Time is out of control here, and doesn't have any meaning. It just falls like Alice down the rabbit hole
    • Line 96: The sun is described using a specific time of day, and this specificity also means we are zeroing in on the forgotten moment the speaker has been searching for. 
    • Line 101: The season of autumn, the most important one in the play, finally comes out. It's related to the (tall) height of the forgotten girl in a simile.
    • Line 132: The snow in August shows an inversion of time (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). It's something unnatural, that shouldn't happen, like the violent death that comes next. 
    • Lines 152-154: Here time is represented as a horse, galloping away in a simile, and time takes on a violent shade with the adjective "bloodthirsty."
    • Lines 163-164: Time is personified as someone holding and closing a fan—as though time were collapsing on itself.
    • Lines 165-179: The forgotten moment that causes all the trouble in this poem goes through a series of similes. First it plunges into itself, closing itself off like a fist, like a fruit; and then grows within the speaker, representing his obsession. 
    • Line 181-184: Time is first compared to the sea in a metaphor, and then personified as it does not turn its head. 
    • Lines 245-246: These lines invoke the night and relate it to death, in contrast to the sunny references to life earlier.
    • Lines 248-250: Summertime is back. Remember those rotting summers from line 74? These summers are also in the past, and are hard for the speaker to remember. 
    • Line 254: This specific reference to the month of October brings us back into the autumn that the speaker tries to remember. What do you think it means that it's "always October"?
    • Line 276: Another specific reference, this time to a year, marks a concrete point in the poem, whereas before most of the time references have been very abstract. 
    • Line 285: The lovers defend their "ration" of time as though it were food, something necessary for life. 
    • Lines 290-296: Time is given a concrete, spatial quality in these lines. If the lovers can "leap over" it and therefore get rid of all temporal boundaries like days, they have escaped it. 
    • Lines 326-327: Every kiss, for the speaker, returns to the beginning of all time. 
    • Lines 378-381: Time is ground up by a mill into "copper coins and abstract s***" in this metaphor
    • Lines 471-472: Here the speaker doubts himself and changes his tune, saying that time cannot turn back, as though it were on a one-way street.
  • Plants

    There are all kinds of plants growing in this poem—trees, flowers, ivy, you name it. This might be a way of bringing nature in, as she's beautiful and fertile, like the beloved, but she can also be very deadly. Case in point: watch out for that ivy—it's almost always poisonous in the poem. If you have trouble remembering, just flip through some old copies of Batman to remind yourself that just because ivy is pretty doesn't mean it isn't deadly. On the other hand, trees and flowers are pretty much harmless here, so those you can enjoy.

    • Line 1: These two types of trees grow near water, and require a lot of water, connecting the plant imagery to the water imagery throughout the poem.
    • Line 3: The tree is strong and stable, but still can move joyfully. This allows it to bend over, fitting in with the other arches in this stanza.
    • Line 43: This is the first appearance of ivy, and here it is used in a simile comparing the speaker's glances to ivy covering his beloved's body. 
    • Line 63: The "tree of liquid" could be the poplar or the willow from the beginning of the poem, but here it is a metaphor for the lover herself. 
    • Lines 98-99: Grapes are used as a metaphor for the young, fertile girls. 
    • Lines 116-117: Ivy here takes on a sinister meaning. In the earlier appearance it was compared to the lover's gaze; here it is a destructive force compared to the lover in a metaphor
    • Lines 126-128: The liana (a climbing plant) and vine are grouped with the poisonous plant, and are followed by the resurrection flower and grape of life. So here we see death and life described through a list of plant names. 
    • Lines 130-131: The jasmine and roses are fragrant flowers, and both of them precede painful, violent images. 
    • Lines 171-179: In an extended metaphor, the forgotten moment is likened to a fruit tree that grows within the speaker, representing his obsession with memory. 
    • Lines 257-285: The speaker compares himself to a tree in this simile
    • Lines 302-303: Using personification, the speaker compares a peach tree to a guest. 
    • Lines 322-323: The tree here seems to allude to Eden, where Adam and Eve were able to drink and eat with no worries (for a while anyway). 
    • Lines 372-375: The vines are back, and they're still dangerous—this time they're related to forbidden love. 
    • Lines 382-383: A flower is used to describe chastity in this metaphor
    • Line 402: The speaker uses a simile to compare the way his lover walks to a tree. Remember how he did the same with himself in lines 257-285? 
    • Line 404: The beloved is compared to wheat in this simile, in a reference to life and growth.
  • The Body

    The body is the way that we get to know the beloved and the speaker, it's the basis for a lot of the metaphors the poem uses, and, in the end, and it's the way that the speaker finally finds some redemption. Keep in mind, when we say body we mean all the body parts—try to see if you can find some patterns for the way the poet uses eyes, the face, the belly, and other body parts.

    • Lines 25-31: Here the body is described as being made of light and time, as making the world visible. Sounds important, right?
    • Line 39-48: The speaker compares the body to the world and a city in an extended metaphor that likens body parts to different areas of the city. 
    • Line 49-56: A series of metaphors compares the different body parts to water features, like the sea, a place where tigers drink, and to celestial images like the moon and the clouds. 
    • Lines 60-64: Now it's the speaker's body being portrayed, and he is being literally opened up by the rain of his beloved. 
    • Lines 76-79: The body has been forgotten, and so it is a crumbling, decaying memory. 
    • Lines 82-85: This is an example of synecdoche, where the speaker uses a part (the face) to talk about the whole (a person, and in fact the whole memory of that person). 
    • Line 111: Because the speaker has forgotten most of the details of his lover, he likens her face to all other faces, and no other face, making her universal. 
    • Lines 159-161: The body decays in these lines, and the different effects of age on the body parts show the passage of time. 
    • Lines 190-196: The body in these lines is made of stone, and tastes like dust and a sealed well—these descriptions all point to death and decay, a very different image than the one where the body is made of light or rain.
    • Lines 203-205: The chest is used to represent the place where the speaker's memories are contained, and from which they are stolen. 
    • Lines 223 and 227: Earlier in the poem the body (the beloved's body) is related to life; here the body shows signs of aging. 
    • Lines 229-230: The eyes stand in for the girl in this synecdoche.
    • Lines 231-240: These lines focus on the eyes too, but this time it is about the power and timelessness of the "glance."
    • Lines 251-252: The sparrows in these lines transform Phyllis' dimples into birdfeeders of light, a very romantic image
    • Line 280: The houses are personified as though they were suffering humans during the destruction of war. 
    • Lines 455-458: The body parts are used in a combination of synecdoche to represent the whole body and metaphor comparing them to flames as the body is burned up, dying. 
    • Lines 514-521: These lines use the face to represent the true self, in contrast to a mask and a false self.
  • Birds

    Among all the animals mentioned in the poem, birds definitely get most of the attention. And who can blame the speaker? Birds are awesome. But besides being cool, they also represent life, youth, and joy in the poem. Think about the way a bird soars through the sky the way that we (well, without the aid of jetpacks) can't. Think about a bird's song and how happy it sounds. These are all important attributes that connect the bird to life and to the beloved in "Piedra de sol."

    • Line 14: This is the first appearance of a bird, and it happens for just an instant, a flash. This is foreshadowing of the importance that the single moment will be in the rest of the poem. 
    • Lines 16-19: The bird in this section represents the passing of time—a forest turns to stone after many, many eons, and the birds peck away the light, making the days pass.
    • Line 53: The hummingbird is strongly related to fire in many different mythological traditions, and here burns in the flames of the beloved's eyes. 
    • Line 95: The bird is again related to the single instant of the memory, and to life, in a simile
    • Line 121: The eagles here are part of the series of death-related images
    • Line 219: The bird is now related to pain and violence in this simile
    • Line 406: The beloved is compared to a thousand birds in this simile, returning to the use of birds to signal life. 
    • Lines 414-415: Now instead of having a deathly meaning, the eagle is contained in the eyes of the lovers, and is related to life and joy.
  • Architecture and Rooms

    Any architectural features like hallways, rooms, pillars, and arches are almost always describing the surroundings of the speaker. His beloved is connected to water and nature, and he's trapped inside, like a kid during the last few weeks of school. The houses he describes usually are connected to his memory, which for him is kind of like a prison. Sometimes, though, he's talking about real rooms where he spent time with people in the past.

    • Lines 36-38: While the speaker's memories take place generally in natural or specific places, his own present is a sort of generic building, with lots of corridors, arches, and pillars. This is a signal that we are in the speaker's present. 
    • Lines 72-74: Memory is compared to an endless, empty house in a metaphor
    • Line 260: The speaker talks about a room as though he were remembering a time when he traveled a lot, or was young and lived alone, rather than in a house. 
    • Lines 269-275: These lines represent a list of repeated images that all point to civilization or architecture and also to the confusion of memory. 
    • Lines 280-281: Personification helps the speaker to describe the destruction of architectural features during the war. 
    • Lines 296-300: The rooms described here are "adrift," comparing them to boats in a metaphor
    • Lines 306-310: The nautical metaphor continues, here comparing rooms to ships and submarines. 
    • Lines 310-314: The rooms in this section are compared to tombs in a metaphor
    • Lines 325: The room becomes the most important place in the universe in this paradox: how is every room the center? Does it have to do with the lovers' perspective? 
    • Lines 329-330: The room is compared to a fruit and a star in similes
    • Lines 395-398: We're back in abstract, memory territory again with the return of the corridors of time. The speaker is lost in this maze of memory. 
    • Lines 544-552: The door, arch, and bridge are metaphors for the path of being born.
  • Mirrors and Glass

    In a poem that has a lot of self-reflection in it (Who am I? What's my name? Why am I dying?) it's probably not too hard to figure out where mirrors, glass, and crystal fit into the picture. Here's a little hint, though: just because the speaker says he has no reflection sometimes, doesn't mean he's a vampire. Maybe he's a werewolf, or a ghost or—oh, wait, no maybe he's having a hard time looking into himself and his past. Identity crisis, much?

    • Line 1: The willow made of crystal reminds us of self-reflection, like someone looking into their reflection in the water. 
    • Line 34-35: The speaker seems to be bodiless here, as he is erased by a reflection.
    • Line 58: The skirt of crystal comes right before the skirt of water, once again reminding us of the connection between transparent, reflective crystal and water.
    • Line 90: The mirrors reflect the speaker's shattered image. As we move from crystal to mirrors, the speaker is no longer calm and integrated—he's shattered and fragmented.
    • Line 194: The speaker goes down a passage of mirrors that repeats his reflection and always goes back to where it began—like the poem. 
    • Lines 211-213: In these lines it is the lack of windows that signals the way the speaker is trapped inside of himself, searching for his memories. 
    • Lines 371-372: The love between brothers and sisters is compared to love between mirrors in this simile.
  • Fire

    If water is related to life, then fire, its elemental opposite, is related to death. There are several images of people burning up, which is pretty creepy and violent, and which tells us a lot about the way the speaker feels about death. Think about the purifying effects of fire, too, though, when pondering the rebirth at the end of the poem.

    • Line 22: The fire here makes the wind sing, so even though it's destructive it retains some beauty. 
    • Line 53: The beloved's eyes are aflame and burn a hummingbird, showing the danger among all the beautiful images
    • Line 118: The image of a writing of fire on a piece of jade hints at magical, mystical forces. 
    • Lines 136-140: The face that the speaker tries to remember is devoured by fire, and the moment that he has forgotten, too, is on fire. This starts to give us the idea that the memory and the person he wants to remember have something to do with death. 
    • Lines 188-189: The speaker, wounded, compares his pain to fire in a simile
    • Lines 455-464: Here the flames are strongly related to death in this series of metaphors that describe the body being consumed by fire.
  • Steaminess Rating

    PG

    The speaker in the poem is definitely interested in the transcendence he claims comes from making love, but he's a pretty proper old chap: nothing too graphic here, but there is some innuendo.

  • Allusions

    Literary and Mythological References:

    • Melusina (109, 217) is a serpent- or fish-woman in medieval mythology and, more recently, the name of a character in Andre Breton's surrealist writings, like the novel Nadja.
    • Laura (110) might refer to the famous object of Petrarch (an important Italian poet from the 14th century) love poetry.
    • Persephone (110, 519) was the Greek goddess of the underworld, and since she was abducted and taken to Hades the earth grows cold every winter until the spring comes and vegetation returns, as when she was released.
    • Pablo Neruda's poem "Madrid, 1937" (276).
    • Heloise (366-369, 519), a 12th-century nun, fell in love with her teacher, a priest named Abelard. They kept it a secret so it wouldn't affect their standing in the church, but Heloise ended up pregnant and something had to be done. Abelard decided to marry her, even though she worried that would ruin his reputation as a priest. She offered to be his prostitute (and that's where this fits into "Piedra de sol"). When Heloise's uncle found out he castrated Abelard as punishment. Ouch.
    • Agamemnon (428) was murdered by his wife's lover after coming home from the Trojan War.
    • Cassandra (429) was Agamemnon's concubine, also murdered.
    • Plato's Crito (431-433), in which Socrates was forced to drink hemlock, a poison, as an execution method. When his buddy Crito offered to bust him out of prison he told him there was no need, that rather they should sacrifice a rooster to Aesculapius, the god of healing, because he had been "cured of life."
    • Austen Henry Layard (434), a famous 19th-century archaeologist who wrote a book on what he discovered at the ruins of Nineveh, and included several descriptions of the ways that jackals had taken over the city, ruined long ago in a massacre.
    • William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (435-436), in which Brutus, who betrayed his friend Julius Caesar, had an uncomfortable meeting with his murdered friend's ghost the night before a big battle.

    Historical References:

    • Moctezuma (436-437) was the Aztec emperor when the Spaniards arrived to conquer America, and he was either, as the Spaniards claimed, killed by his countrymen or, as the Aztecs claimed, killed by the Spaniards. Either way his death wasn't too pleasant.
    • Maximilien Robespierre (437-440) was a leader in the French Revolution, and to avoid execution tried jumping out a window and shooting himself, but only managed to shatter his jaw before being killed.
    • Cosme Damian Churruca (441) was a Spanish admiral who was killed during a sea battle by a cannon ball.
    • Abraham Lincoln (442-443), whose assassination you hopefully remember learning about in elementary school (it happened in a theater).
    • Leon Trotsky (443-444) was a Russian Bolshevik exiled in Mexico who was killed with an icepick in his home. He supposedly spat on his attacker and fought him, and lived for a day before finally dying.
    • Francisco I. Madero (444-445) was president of Mexico during the Mexican Revolution and was betrayed and executed in a coup.

    Biblical References:

    • Adam and Eve (176-179, 425) were driven out of Paradise because they disobeyed God and ate the one fruit they weren't supposed to. Also, after that there was some trouble over their son Cain killing his brother, Abel.
    • In the Bible, Samson (426) killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass (word to the wise: don't mess with guys like that).
    • Mary (110, 519) was Jesus Christ's mother. In the Catholic Church she has a very important role as holy virgin, and she's made some appearances in Mexico that give her quite a following there.
    • The Crucifixion (464-465) was when Jesus Christ was, in the Christian religion, executed by hanging on a cross. He was buried on a Friday and came back to life on Sunday, miraculously. 
    • Peter (521) was one of Jesus' disciples. 
    • Paul (521) was an important early Christian teacher, who wrote a few of the books of the Bible.