"'The Sphinx is yourself.'..."
See in text (Chapter VII)
Paul offers Princess R. a ring with a design of the Sphinx, a figure in Greek mythology who has the head of a woman and the body of a lion. The Sphinx is an enigmatic creature, and Paul outright states that it is a metaphor for the princess. The naive princess is flattered by the accurate but unpleasant comparison. The Sphinx offers riddles to passing travelers, devouring those who cannot answer correctly. The princess is Paul’s Sphinx. She contains a riddle he cannot solve, and his endless attempts to do so ruin his life.