Spatial Imagery and Borges Philosophy
“Reality is not always probable, or likely” (Borges), this quote from Jorge Luis Borges, a perfect example of what makes Collected Fictions mysterious and entertaining to read. His readings are not superficial, and must be taken by critical thought and completely different modes of thinking. Borges’ stories use many techniques to express his messages. In select fictions, the idea of geometry, which is simple and exact, is used to convey themes of infinity and perceiving reality, which are hardly exact at all. Whether Borges uses hexagons to explain a concept of infinity and God, or rhombi and labyrinths to prove an order to chaos, these fictions let the reader explore his perplexing and ambiguous philosophy through ideas of spatial imagery.
The story Death and the Compass deals with spatial imagery in two ways, one being with geometric rhombi, and the other is the reader’s idea of labyrinths. A rhombus is used in this story to specifically draw the main character strait to the criminal. Borges mentions the rhombus for the purpose of simplifying the story into something that makes sense; the crimes of the story fit into a perfect, known shape. “I knew you would add the missing point, the point that makes a perfect rhombus, the point that fixes the place where a precise death awaits you” (p.156). The end of the story proves that the simple idea is not that simple at all, it all represents how this logical order of crimes brings the protagonist to a chaotic sense of himself because of the elaborate scheme that brings him to his own demise, which becomes part of the order. The other way Death and the Compass deals with spatial imagery is the way Borges lets the reader picture what a labyrinth should look like. Labyrinths are a recurring theme in a lot of Borges’ works, but in this particular story the villain sets up a labyrinth inside the main character’s head to set him up. “”The next time I kill you,” Scharlach...
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