The Tarantula Crawls Across The Circus Floor and Arachnida Is Dead

Previously in this series

by Larry Fyffe

(F)atty Aphrodite's mama - I bend to you
& with sex mad eternity at my vegetable show
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Something’s up ~ it’s well known that Aphrodite’s not fat, not at all; said to be the daughter of the sea, the goddess of love is sexually alluring.

Not so well known perhaps is that Greek playwright Euripide’s mama sells vegetables in order to obtain money for her son’s education.

In the ancient Greek satirical play entitled “The Frogs”, according to its author Aristophanes anyway, the degenerate state of contemporary Athenian plays demands a return to the days when art was in the skilled hands of an educated elite rather than audiences having to sit through the works of lesser quality written by less-educated citizens.

Proclaims Aristophanes, it’s better still to have an educated playwright like Aeschylus who strives in his plays to bring out the best in people of all classes ~ rather than one like Euripides who considers human behaviour largely determined by an individual’s social status.

In the satirical play “The Frogs”, Dionysus, supposed a regenerative god, travels across the river to Hades where the demigod oversees a “Judgement of Paris”, so to speak.

On a balance scale, he weighs the content of dramas written by ‘old school’ Euripides, a writer of tragedies who brings the heroes of classical mythology down to earth, but then provides little advice on how to improve the rather stagnated state of the theatre in Athens; other than to spout forth what amounts to nothing more than dribble from the well-ordered Apollonian ‘intellectual’ establishment.

The weight of Aeschylus’ plays compared with those of Euripides demonstrates that the day has come for the latter’s tragedies to die, and be replaced by those written by Aeschylus who models himself after the heroic mythological gods (even a demigod like blunder-prone strongmam Hercules will do); at least offered would be some practical solutions to fix the fallen state of Athenian art; so too, the city’s economic and political woes would be addressed ~ though through the safety of humorous satire, of course.

Below, quoted from the short book ‘Tarantula’ below, lampooned are the critics of the innovative American poet Walt Whitman of modern times:

"(S)o you're out to save the world are you?
you imposter - you freak!
you're a contradiction!
you're  afraid to admit you're a contradiction!
you're misleading!


sincerely yours, Froggy

(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

In the following ironic-filled song lyrics, the narrator thereof takes on the persona of a regenerative Dionysus, and mentions characters he’d bring back from the Underworld; brought back in order to improve the comparatively witless state that the modern entertainment industry has gotten itself into:

I study Sanskrit and Arabic to improve my mind
I want to do things for the benefit of mankind ....
I'll bring someone back to life, balance the scales
I'm not gonna get involved in any insignificant details
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)


Arachnida Is Dead

Do I contradict myself
Very well, then I contradict myself
I am large, I contain multitides
(Walt Whitman: Song Of Myself)

As pointed before, a darker critic of the state of society in modern times also has a big influence on the writings of Bob Dylan:

Welcome, tarantula
Black on thy back 
Is thy triangle and symbol
(Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra ~ translated)

Clearly revealed in the lines beneath:

(A) girl with her back
full of ink
raises her hand
& says "Ernest Tubb"
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The avenging Tarantula Man dances beneath the diamond sky with one of his eight legs waving free: he’s out of his hole, stinging those who dare tell him that all created humans are equal, and therefore conformity’s the golden rule.

Nay, everyone has his or her own, often hidden, talent; it’s now time to seize the opportunity, to exercise one’s will to power.

Not to wait for a reward way up yonder in a supposed Afterlife:

I've heard you say many times
That you're better than no one
And no one is better than you
If you really believe that
You know you have nothing to win
And nothing to lose
(Bob Dylan: To Ramona)

Friedrich Nietzsche be a spider caught in the web of his own time.

He accidentally stings the archetypical Eve who flees from the dusty pages of the

Judeo-Christian Bible.

The times they are a-changing:

The housewife is not here
She's running for congress
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The story does not end there, however.

A black nightingale arrives with bad news ~  Arachnida is dead!

The Christians have killed him ~ squashed him with the Holy Bible for breaking the “Great Chain of Being”; thereby releasing Eve’s imprisoned inner soul, Lilith.

With the Big Tarantula dead, Paradise is regained … at least in part:

Covenant woman got a contract with the Lord
Way up yonder great will be her reward
Covenant woman, shining like a morning star
I know I can trust you to stay where you are
(Bob Dylan: Covenant Woman)


  1. … the broad wound of his neck in which the tarantula became accustomed to lodge …

    (The Songs Of Maladoror, Canto V, part vii ~ translated)

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