“Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy” By Octavio Paz (L.A.Q) Long Questions and Answers, Class XI, WBCHSE
Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy Questions and Answers
Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy LAQ Long Questions and Answers
Brotherhood Homage to Claudius Ptolemy by Octavio Paz
Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy by Octavio Paz Questions and Answers
1)Bring out the central idea of the poem ‘Brotherhood’.  [Annual Exam Class XI -2017]
What is the central idea of the poem ‘Brotherhood’?  [Annual Exam XI – 2014]
Ans. In Octavio Paz’s poem “Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy,” the central idea is the interconnectedness and unity of all things. The poem explores the relationship between man and nature and the way in which humans are intimately connected to the universe. The poem exposes the insignificance of hume being in terms of the vast universe. Through the figure of Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer who lived in the second century AD, the poem celebrates the human quest for knowledge and understanding. Paz suggests that the universe is a complex and interconnected web of relationships and that all things are bound together in a cosmic brotherhood. The poem celebrates the beauty and mystery of the natural world and invites the reader to contemplate the unity of all things. The poem also reflects Paz’s belief in the importance of cultural exchange and the power of knowledge to bridge cultural divides.
2) Give the significance of the line ‘Unknowing I understand’ in Brotherhood.  [Annual Exam XI – 2015, 2018]
Ans. The line “Unknowing I understand” in Octavio Paz’s poem “Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy” is significant because it suggests the paradoxical nature of knowledge and understanding. True understanding often comes not through knowledge or reason, but through intuition or spiritual insight. The speaker is describing the universe and the way in which all things are connected, and he acknowledges that this understanding is not based solely on empirical observation or rational analysis. Rather, it is a deeper, more intuitive understanding that comes from a connection to the natural world and an appreciation of its beauty and mystery. The line also reflects Paz’s interest in the relationship between art and knowledge and the power of poetry to convey complex ideas and emotions in a way that transcends rational understanding.
3) Bring out the significance of the title of “Brotherhood”.  [Annual Exam XI – 2016]
Ans. The title of Octavio Paz’s poem “Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy” is significant because it emphasizes the theme of interconnectedness and unity. The word “brotherhood” connotes a sense of shared humanity and the idea that we are all connected to each other and to the universe.
Through the figure of Ptolemy, an ancient astronomer who sought to understand the workings of the universe, Paz suggests that we are all part of a larger cosmic order. The title also reflects Paz’s interest in the power of knowledge to bridge divides and bring people together. By celebrating the beauty and mystery of the natural world and inviting the reader to contemplate the unity of all things, the poem highlights the importance of empathy, understanding, and compassion in a world that often seems divided and disconnected.
4) In the poem ‘Brotherhood’ what does the poet say about his position on earth? What does the poet mean by ‘I too am written’? How does he understand this? [2+2+1] [Annual Exam XI – 2019]
Ans. In the poem “Brotherhood” by Octavio Paz, the poet reflects on his position on earth. He describes himself as a small and insignificant part of the vast universe. His life span is too short as well.
When the poet says ‘I too am written,’ he is referring to the idea that he, like all people, is part of a larger narrative that extends beyond his individual life. He suggests that we are all “written” in the sense that the purpose of human life has been written in the sky i.e it is predestined.
The poet understands this by his intuition or spiritual insight.
5) What does the poet mean by ‘I am a man: little do I last’? What does he try to convey through the expression ‘the night is enormous’? [2+3] [Annual Exam – 2020]
Ans. In the poem “Brotherhood” by Octavio Paz, the line “I am a man: little do I last” refers to the idea that human life is brief and fleeting. The poet suggests that we are all just “moments” in the larger scheme of things, and that our time on earth is short in comparison to the vastness of time and the universe.
When the poet says “the night is enormous,” he is emphasizing the idea of the vastness and mystery of the universe. The night represents the unknown, the infinite, and the mysterious. Through this expression, the poet conveys that in comparison to the vast universe human existence is only a point in eternity.
6) Write the substance of the poem “Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy”. 
Ans. Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy” by Octavio Paz is a philosophical poem that reflects on the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. Standing under the starry sky the speaker realises that he is a common man. He pessimistically feels that human life is insignificant in comparison with the vastness of the universe. Looking up at the night sky he watches the stars that write our destiny. Now he believes that everything, however insignificant is a part of the cosmos. He feels confident of the purpose of his life. He also feels that someone is sure to spell him out. He feels that he will last long among the readers through his writings. He feels that he is a part of the universe.
7) How does the poem “Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy” justify the poet’s homage to Ptolemy? 
The poem “Brotherhood: Homage to Claudius Ptolemy” justifies the poet’s homage to Ptolemy by emphasizing the significance of his work in astronomy and the natural world as a means of comprehending the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. The poet suggests that Ptolemy’s understanding of the cosmos helped him to see beyond the distinctions and differences that often divide human beings, recognizing the inherent oneness of all things. The poem highlights the importance of knowledge in bringing people together, encouraging empathy, compassion, and a sense of interconnectedness. The poet celebrates the beauty and complexity of the world, inviting the reader to experience a sense of wonder and awe at the mysteries of the universe. Overall, the poem justifies the poet’s homage to Ptolemy by emphasizing the importance of seeking knowledge and understanding as a means of fostering connection and unity in the world.
Written by Koushik Kumar Kundu
Koushik Kumar Kundu was among the toppers when he completed his Masters from Vidyasagar University after completing his Bachelors degree with Honours in English Literature from The University of Burdwan. He also completed B.Ed from the University of Burdwan.
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