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Chapter Six: Textual Analysis

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Chapter Summary

The Debate is presented as a discussion about life and death between two protagonists: the Man, speaking in the first person, and his Soul. The lost beginning of the Debate can only be the subject of speculation. Presumably it contained an introductory section, spoken by the narrator, setting the background of the debate. The final two couplets of his speech may refer to the judgment after death, with the repeated clause "their tongue cannot be biased" indicating the gods' verdict. In his second speech, the Man does not address his Soul directly until the very end, but speaks about it in the third person. This characteristic could indicate an address before an audience of some sort, but it may also be a more subtle device on the part of the text's ancient author, meant to reflect Man's attempt to disown his own inner thoughts, to which he initially expresses opposition.

Keywords:couplet; Debate; Man; Soul



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