What is Thoreau's purpose when he makes an allusion to Orpheus?
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The village is not home but rather is implicitly likened to the underworld. Thoreau alludes to the myth of Orpheus, who entered the underworld to reclaim his wife, and who combatted its dangers by playing his lute and keeping his mind on other things. The comparison such an allusion yields is not favorable for the village, which becomes tantamount to a hell-on-earth. Though it is not spoken directly, Thoreau's allusion to Orpheus, who ultimately lost his wife when he gave into temptation and looked back at her just as they were out of the underworld, suggests that Thoreau will not be able to fully and successfully escape village life.