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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: Re: (urth) Agilus' mask
Date: Wed,  2 Jul 97 14:00:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #1388846 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#

bee and r.,

The line in question: "The ribbons that held your mask," I said.
"They're still there."

We are taking this as literal.  But it can also be Severian's laconic
way of saying, "Look, you are still play-acting as though I were not
the simple torturer that I am."  (Agilus is acting, but he doesn't
really grasp that Severian is a genuine torturer--Agilus assumes
Severian to be an armiger or armiger-wannabe in costume for a party.)

And it can be metaphorical, saying that Agilus's real face is as much
another mask as Doctor Talos's face is that of a stuffed fox.

But it cannot be literally true that Agilus is wearing a second
mask--since the face Severian sees looks like Agia and the face he
will later see when Agilus is a prisoner in the cell.  Or if Agilus is
wearing a second mask, it is unusual in that it looks exactly like his
face, which leads back into the laconic and metaphorical readings.


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