Here, the stray, singular, memory flashes back to the room with Mme. Sosostris' Tarot prophecies, and the protagonist’s card: The Drowned Phoenician Sailor. This drowned sailor is at once, the protagonist, Odysseus, Phlebas, Stetson, Ferdinand, and Job —victim and beneficiary, dead and alive, erased, and reborn.
These symbolic connotations rekindle the redemptive possibility as in Isaiah’s prophecy. However, the redemptive tone is coded again in a further allusion to Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Ariel’s song: Full Fathom Five
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
As the song falsely describes, the King reported dead, is said to have undergone “A sea change into something rich and strange."
While the image remains unnerving, the underlying theme of redemption after death, of a change which human consciousness cannot comprehend but which is none the less beautiful and rich despite leaving behind all semblance of "human” experience.
This notion of death being a metamorphosis of sorts through which redemption may be possible but is still an utter uncertainty becomes the subject of “Death by Water”, when these same symbolic referents and images are brought back in a more striking argument for what Isaiah foretold.
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