Death by Water ...

This section has been interpreted in two ways: either it signifies death by water without resurrection (water misused) or it symbolises the sacrificial death that precedes rebirth. It is true that Phlebas is purged of his commercial interests and vanities when he suffers a sea change, and Weston tells of the annual casting into the sea at Alexandria of an effigy of the head of Adonis - to be taken out after seven days by jubilant celebrators of the cult. The majority of interpreters, however, see Phlebas' drowning as a death by water that brings no resurrection, although there is a strange sense of peace in the death. Cf. line 47. (NA)

 
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