(urth) Typhon's concessions

Marc Aramini marcaramini at gmail.com
Mon Sep 3 21:24:36 PDT 2018

Well, this scene is so allegorical that it seems to be highly predicated
upon the thematic implications of the temptation of Christ in the
wilderness. Much like the adversary in Job, who abides by an agreement with
God, the Satan in the wilderness is concerned with subverting the will of
his prey rather than in purely destroying him by force. For the plot itself
this has little relevance, but the theme relies upon an examination of
choice even in the face of unbearable thirst and need, to deny the desires
of the flesh and maintain control. So ... Typhon is not merely Typhon here,
but an echo of that particular theological moment, even down to offering
the same exact things to Severian. Allegory is occasionally not a great fit
for realistic novels - Typhon has no reason to acknowledge a greater power
save that Satan knows the only way he can truly defeat a greater power is
by proving that the authority vested in the man he tempts is ill-placed.

On Monday, September 3, 2018, <incanto at mtecom.net> wrote:

> Readers,
> When Typhon takes Severian to the head of his mountain, he demands that
> Severain must swear utter submission to him on the claw. I have two
> questions about this. First, why must Typhon require Severian to hand over
> the claw at first, then accede to his reluctance and allow him to simply
> display it in his own hand, rather than just taking it from him? Second,
> Typhon cajoles S by saying, "It is no more than a form we must follow." Why
> must Typhon follow any form at all? Does Typhon indirectly acknowledge a
> power greater than his own to which obeisance is owed? If he were a tyrant
> like those in our own culture, he may very well do lip service to religious
> dictates; but here, it seems that for him there is necessity. Any ideas?
> Fred Weiner
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