Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027563, Mon, 23 Oct 2017 15:09:51 -0700

Re: Odon & Nodo in Pale Fire; microscopic point of euphorion in
Ada; St. Algebra & Rigor Mortis in Lolita
Alexey Sklyarenko,

Re: Odon = Nodo = odno = odin = one

Thank you for that information. That is very helpful for me in discovering the “who/why” of Odon and Nodo. These two “mirror twins” are probably the most obvious opposites in Pale Fire. The “union of opposites” is the step towards wholeness (oneness) in alchemy and in Carl Jung’s psychology, so their names would certainly seem to support that.

Beyond that, the question is what would be the purpose of these two characters in the novel? Zembla exists only in the mind of Kinbote, therefore all the inhabitants are creatures of Kinbote’s mind, that is, they are “archetypes”.

Odon is a friend and helper to King Charles. Nodo is a “despicable traitor”. Odon is in the theater and is a master of disguises. He is wily and devil-may-care. Nodo is a card sharp, hence adept at deceit and trickery. In fact, both brothers evince the archetype of “The Trickster”. Extending the allusions, the Germanic god, Odin, was considered a trickster – a mischief making shape-shifter. Odin was also correlated with Mercurius, and like Mercurius was dual-natured, both positive and negative.

Within Kinbote’s psyche, Odon is allied to the archetype of the “Persona”, as masks and disguises are used to “trick” others. An immature ego sees the Persona as a helpful cover and dodge from the darker aspects of the unconscious. Nodo is allied to the “Shadows”, the dark side that betrays the precarious self-esteem.

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