Explain the lines ''may the poison purify your flesh.......ambition'' from the poem "Night of the Scorpion" by Nissim Ezekielrefer stanza 4

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As with the previous question, the context remains the same.  The villagers have come to gather in the home of the woman who has been stung by the scorpion.  Understandably, she is enduring intense pain.  The poison from the sting is coursing through her veins and there is little anyone can do to alleviate what unspeakable difficulty she has to withstand.  The villagers speak to this condition in offering what is almost like a hymn or prayer for her soul.  It is apparent that the villagers believe in Hinduism, or the specific belief that the soul is immortal and will pass on even after the body dies.  The soul will have to undergo more births in order to achieve a stage of moksha, or redemptive liberation, as it seeks to recognize the universality of Atman, the true essence.  This rebirth process is one that seeks to "get it right" and does so through what has been done in previous births.  What has been done good and noble helps to bring one closer to this true essence.  What has been done which is evil and malevolent moves one away from it, causing one to have to endure more births to acknowledge the true essence of which the villagers believe all humans are an inseparable part.

May the poison purify your flesh
of desire, and your spirit of ambition,

The villagers acknowledge that the poison is painful.  Their belief is that the endurance of such pain is what will allow the woman's soul to be purified, preparing her way towards a redemptive end.  At the same time, they believe that some karmic alignment or force has ordained that she endure the pain of the poison to balance out any bad deeds that she might have undertaken in this life or her previous ones.  This purification is what the villagers believe the value of the poison to be.

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