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Unformatted text preview: When Santiago first sees the black-clad horseman, an image comes to his mind of Santiago Matamoros, the Christian saint and slayer of Moors. Moors were the Muslim conquerors of the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Andalusia, the shepherd boy's home. But in contrast to the classic image of Santiago Matamoros, in which St. James sits atop a horse, a Moor beneath its hooves, here Santiago the shepherd boy, a Christian pilgrim, occupies the Moor's place. In another twist, the terrifying man atop the white horse is none other than the alchemist for whom the novel is named. The notion of this world as a poor copy of another, perfect world, comes from the philosophy of Plato, in his famous parable of the cave. The alchemist identifies the cobra in the desert as a symbol of life. Traditionally, snakes also are emblematic of male potency. The cobra's power may give Santiago the strength to return to Fatima emblematic of male potency....
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08
- The Alchemist, Santiago, The Alchemist