It was reprinted in the short-story collection El Aleph in Plot summary[ edit ] The story takes the form of a monologue by Asterion. He begins by suggesting that certain defamatory claims—that he is arrogant, or misanthropic, or mad—are untrue. Asterion describes his house in detail: that it has no locked doors; that it has many corridors and rooms, pools and courtyards. He explains his hermetic ways by recounting how once, when he left his house, the commoners were so agitated that he now does not go out, believing that his royal blood sets him apart after all, he is the child of a queen.

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Borges explained: The House of Asterion Ana April 25, 1 For some readers, grasping the work of Jorge Luis Borges, the acclaimed Argentinean author, seems like an intimidating task. The language seems impenetrable, and the references, obscure at best. After a few attempts, the reader throws up his arms in frustration and relegates the book to the darkest corner of the bookcase, where it will gather dust for years.

Roman mosaic picturing Theseus and the Minotaur. Rhaetia, Switzerland. Borges is obsessed with the labyrinth —both physical and metaphorical — and the idea of man at its centre. Borges is also preoccupied with the idea of time and the infinite, violence, disloyalty, treason and punishment, and mirrors. Throughout his writing, Borges uses a system of universal symbols which he makes his own to create a unique world through his fantastic narrative.

He reworks myths into new stories and borrows an idea or a few lines from classical texts and invents new literature. The story is narrated in the first person singular. It begins, like many other stories, with a quote. The narrator begins by refuting some accusations made against him: that he is arrogant, mad and a misanthropist. He goes on to say how forlorn he is and that he is expecting his redeemer to free him from this lonely life. Here, the narrator shifts to the third person singular.

The voice also changes to that of Theseus talking to Ariadne. Only then does the reader come to the full realisation that this story is a version of the myth of the Minotaur. Bull-shaped rhyta circa - BC - Cyprus References to the theme of the labyrinth are peppered throughout the text: a house with no doors or furniture, forking basement hallways, grey stone galleries, rooms that are alike and endlessly repeated.

His house is his world and the world is his house. There is also a reference to the Labyrinth of Egypt, a real building complex in the province of Fayoum, Egypt. Borges also hints at the fact that Asterion is a monster, and a very lonely one at that, through the panic felt by the town dwellers the time Asterion ventures out of his house. In the Minoan myth, the Minotaur is imprisoned in the labyrinth built by Daedalus and every seven —or nine- years is given a tribute of seven maidens and seven young men in order to avoid a plague.

Although Asterion denies it vehemently, he is also a prisoner of his own loneliness, his otherness, his condition of monster.


The House of Asterion



Borges explained: The House of Asterion


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