The old man isn't actively pretending to be an angel, but due to his wings, he is certainly believed to be one by many. The spider woman, on the other hand, is a fraud, a charlatan, a confidence trickster. She immediately spots a gap in the market and exploits it to the fullest. She sees straightaway that the pilgrims who come to see her demand results from their faith, and she sets out to give them what they want.
Over time, the old man proves unable to perform the kind of wondrous miracles people expect from an angel. This creates an opportunity for the spider woman, who soon attracts visitors from far and wide, dispensing glib platitudes and passing them off as profound nuggets of wisdom. Here, Marquez appears to be satirizing a particular kind of folk-religion, one that is amenable to being exploited for personal gain by all manner of hucksters and con-artists.
The old man and the spider woman are similar in that they are both transgenic creatures. The old man is part human and part...
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