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The White Sphinx in HG Wells The Time Machine is an ever-present motif which highlights the distinction between the beautiful frail Eloi and the violent Morlock Upon delving deeper into the text the reader is able to see just how significant the sphinx is to the plot of the story The moment the traveler arrives in the future his attention is dominated by the colossal white marble figure His machine is soon trapped in the sphinx leaving him stuck in the unfamiliar future This White Sphinx becomes a symbolic and literal barrier for the traveler much like it was for the Greek heroOedipus For both heroesits beauty and ferocity becomes representative of social stratification between upper and working classes There is no debate over the prominence of the White Sphinx it is omnipresent throughout the travelers entire journey The time traveler arrives in the future and is immediately taken aback by the colossal figure carved apparently in some white stone and as he gawks mesmerized by the statute all else of the world was invisible he stood looking at it for a little space- for half a minute or perhaps half an hour Wells 80 This is the time travelers first impression of the future The sphinxs iridescent white marble exudes an aura of radiance It has the body of a winged lion but the head of a human The sphinx is an enigma- a riddle that must be solved Two theories can be identified for the symbolism of the sphinx One is the class division between the Eloi and the Morlock and the other is an analogy Wells creates between the books hero the Time Traveler and the Greek hero OedipusThe beautiful marble structure sits on top of a copper base this base is the entrance to the Morlocks domain- the deep unknown underground This is where the secrets and treasures of the past present and future are held It houses the Morlock
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