English 328: Popol Vuh

What is the purpose of the Seven Macaw story in Part II of the Popol Vuh?  Consider that the story was shared with a Mayan community.  What kind of demands does it places upon the listener?  Imagine yourself as a participating audience member trying to embrace the lesson.

10 thoughts on “English 328: Popol Vuh

  1. I found that the main purpose of the Seven Macaw story is to teach humility to what the Popol Vuh states, “Never wantonly falsify or steal their lordship.” I think this story was used as a scare tactic in the Mayan Community to show that if they did not follow the Popol Vuh, they will be punished greatly, and it also solidified their beliefs of everything has a time and place in the universe (like fate).

  2. With the Gods creating many trails to create humans, I believe that Seven Macaw created an interesting figure of a false God in a way to give the wood mannikins a life that shouldn’t have happened. Seven Macaw is portrayed as very full themselves and by the end of Part One, foreshadowing that his downfall led to the downfall of others.

  3. The story was a lesson in humility, and a warning against self magnification. Listeners should recognise that though Hunahpu and Xbalanque’s actions were deceitful, their motives were just. Seven Macaw’s death after losing his jewels shows how he was reliant on material wealth to portray power. It is a false sense of power. Listeners should be aware there is a difference between the truly powerful and the pretenders.

    • The point you made about material wealth was a good one. I agree that the portrayal of Seven Macaw as being obsessed with shine and jewels was intentional in order to send a message about false power.

  4. I thought the Seven Macaw story in the Popol Vuh had the purpose of demonstrating that all actions have consequences. Seven Macaw was portrayed as a god figure, yet he was self-centered and unlikeable. He was targeted by Xbalanque and Hunahpu, and he had to suffer from horrible tooth pain and later white corn as teeth. Hunahpu was the one to shoot the blow dart, and he had his arm ripped off as a direct consequence. This would deter the listener from going against societal norms, as to not do anything “bad” to avoid punishments.

  5. I interpreted the Seven Macaw story as a lesson and a warning of what will happen to those who do not respect and glorify the Heart of Sky. Seven Macaw and his sons were tyrants, consumed by gluttony and power. Rather than show gratefulness to their creator, they considered themselves the ultimate power on Earth. The detailed story of their demises teaches listeners to stay humble and know their place as humans, not gods.

  6. I gathered that the Seven Macaw story gave purpose to the fact that actions of self-magnification and selfishness have consequences, especially when disrespecting a higher power and hurting those while being selfish, in this case, it was the Heart of Sky. In the case of this story relating to the Mayan Community, this story showed that if not respecting higher positions or the stories and lessons of the Popol Vuh, there will be harsh consequences.

  7. I think the purpose of the Seven Macaw story in part II is to illustrate the ideology that humility and that presenting oneself in such a way that they are higher or better than the others is a destructive mindset. One of the reasons Seven Macaw is killed is to prevent others from thinking the same way that he did, to not spread the harmful mindset of being above others, or rather being above and not respecting those already in high power, such that, the Heart of Sky. I also think that the purpose of the story for the listeners was a warning to not think yourself better or higher than the gods, and warns of the consequences should they make that mistake.

  8. I believe the Seven Macaw part was designed to teach a lesson of humility to the reader. The Seven Macaw is killed because he was arrogant, overstepping, and disrespectful to others with a self-centered mentality. It was so much so that he dared to disrespect though of higher stature than himself, in the end condemning him to death as a lesson to others, letting the mortal men and women of the realm know what is expected of them by the gods.

  9. I think that the purpose of Seven Macaw’s story was to show what happens when one is very vain and the consequences for his actions. He was ultimately defeated and so were his two sons. So I think It also goes to show that “good” comes out on top in the end.

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