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An Analysis of the Poetry of Octavio Paz - Essay Example

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An Analysis of the Poetry of Octavio Paz

In Paz’s poem “A Tree Within,” the poet creates a metaphysical metaphor of an inverted tree growing within his body to illustrate the path of desire inspired by the presence of an outsider’s influence. The inversion of the tree is established within the first line which, despite the slight contradiction of the third line’s claim that “Its roots are veins…”, establishes that the tree is growing upside down. The branches stretch out into the nerves of the body’s extremities and, while the fifth line states that “thoughts (are) its tangled foliage” (presumably because of the parallel imagery of human hair), the tree’s growth implies a rather different nest of hair and a distinctly more lustful direction of growth. The inversion of the tree resonates with the classic illustration of Satan in Dante’s Divine Comedy: the poet likewise seems to be describing an escalating hellish torture of excitement. This interpretation is reinforced by the introduction of the second person in the sixth line, whose “glance sets it on fire…” When one considers that the foliage is often the first thing of a tree to catch fire, this image can be viewed as the other person’s presence either causes the poet’s thoughts to kindle or that the ‘foliage’ of his loins has become enflamed with desire. The themes of the tree, lust, and damnation are extended through the course of lines 7-9. The “fruits of shade” are both a reference to (and an anagram of) Hades, a fact declared beyond question by mention of the pomegranates. ...Show more


In the paper “An Analysis of the Poetry of Octavio Paz” the author analyzes the poetry of the first Mexican writer who won the Nobel Prize in 1990. In many of Paz's poems there is a dissection of time in linear, cyclic, and instantaneous manifestations…
An Analysis of the Poetry of Octavio Paz essay example
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