? “Opiate” by Tool was released on March 10, 1992 as the title track of their debut EP. “Opiate” is a satirical critique of organized religous establishments and the way in which religious leaders take advantage of people by acting as mediators between the people and their deity. Tool achieves this satirical critique through the use of allusion, alliteration, and point of view.
The title of the song “Opiate” is an allusion to a well-known Karl Marx quote “religion is the opiate of the masses.” This titular allusion is a foreshadowing that lets the listener know that the song is going to be about how religious leaders often utilize religion as a tool, or drug, to make adicts of their followers, who can not make decisions or do anything without being told to by their religion.
Alliteration is used throughout “Opiate” as a method for emphasizing the power that people give their spiritual leaders, rendering themselves themselves completely powerless. The line “Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow” works to emphasize the way in which people allow spiritual leaders to define and tell them that they are broken, requiring the faith-based aid in which spirtual leaders offer. Other examples of alliteration in the song are in the lines “someone strong” and “holy hand”, both of these lines work to illustrate the power that people allow spiritual leaders to have by suggesting that these leaders are better than they are and can give their followers something that they could not have otherwise.
Point of view is utilized by “Opiate” in order to critique of the way in which religious leaders take advantage of their followers through religious belief. “Opiate” is told in the first-person perspective of a religious leader who is taking advantage of his followers through a religious doctrine, with lines like “You are broken now, but faith can heal you. Just do everything I tell you to do. Let me lay my holy hand upon you.” Though the use of this first person narrative “Opiate” shows the listener the absurdity of following evey word and whim of another person by having the narrator call his followers “Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.” The song also utilizes hyperbole in the narrative with the lines “My Gods will becomes me. When he speaks out, he speaks through me. He has needs like I do. We both want to rape you,” by satirically stating that the narrator wishes to rape his followers, Tool exaggerates the desire of religious leaders to take full advantage and control of their followers.
In conclusion, “Opiate” is a satirical critique that communicates the bands disdain for the way in which religious leaders wish to take advantage of their followers through the abuse of their blind faith. This critique is achieved through the use of of an allusion to the well-known Karl Marx quote “religion is the opiate of the masses.” in the title, alliteration, and through the song being told in the first-person perspective of a religious leader who is taking advantage of his followers.