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Invisible Cities - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Subject: Date: Invisible Cities: Introduction Invisible Cities, originally by Italo Calvino, explains some fifty five fantasy cities as told by the fictional character, Marco Polo, to his emperor, Kublai Khan. The book is in the form of brief poems narrated by Polo and conversations between the two main characters…
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Download file to see previous pages In time, however, Khan realizes that the nonexistent places the traveler speaks of describe, bit by bit, his town of Venice (Calvino et al, 28). The City of Zobeide On a personal note, the most captivatingly described the city in the book is Zobeide. The city of Zobide was the most captivating. Unlike in the description of other cities, Marco Polo not only explains the physical outlay of Zobeide but also tells of its origins. He does so in an imaginative and poetic manner that adds some charisma to the city. The description of Marco Polo concerning the foundation of the city is intriguing. The city was founded by men of different backgrounds who had an identical dream. He explains that each of the men dreamt of a woman running at night in the streets of a city. The woman was naked with long hair and each man desired to have an encounter with her. Every man would chase her through the city’s alleys but would ultimately lose her. When they awoke, the men resolved to travel in search of the city in their vision, but never found it. They, however, found each other and decided to build a city similar to the one in the dream. In designing the city’s streets, they arranged the spaces, alleys and walls in a different manner from the dream in order to trap the woman efficiently, and so Zobeide came to be. They settled in it, waiting for the woman to appear in the night, which never happened. Other men arrived into the city, having had the dream of the naked woman and recognized some features in Zobeide that resembled the city of their dreams. For this reason, the arcades and staircases were changed to resemble the woman’s path so as to build her a better trap. The first man, however, could not understand why the rest were drawn to the city as in his eyes, it was ugly (Calvino et al, 157). What is revoking about the description, though, is the fact that it portrays no realistic way of living. It has no real culture, economics or politics. In the narration, we are clearly told of the men’s goal and the actions they took towards them; but as for details of how they achieved such, the author keeps us in the dark. The many livelihoods, the governance and interpersonal relations are missed out; components vital in the narration of a city. The narration about the city of Zobeide evokes a feeling of pity from readers towards its occupants. It is sorrowful to read of the trouble the men undergo under the mental imprisonment by the woman in their dream. Additionally, after travelling far and wide, constructing a city and reconstructing it, the men end up disappointed since she never shows up. They are forced to carry on without what seems to be their uttermost desire in life (De, 137). The use of symbolism in the narrative is intriguing. The woman figuratively represents the desire which inspired the creation of Venice. The name Zobeide is also used in another book called Arabian Nights as the name of Caliph Harun al Rashid’s wife. The woman is used in many works of art to represent desire; which eventually is the building force of societies and history, when bound up with the right amount of power and creativity. The building and rebuilding of Zobeide, as described by Italo, is a metaphor to illustrate human past of semiotic development. Desire provides the desire, then a drive, which produces the impulse to achieve a goal. In spite of the woman being the core reason for the city’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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