chloramphenicol bestellen neurontin tabletas 600 mg tenormin reviews anxiety flovent hfa sales coreg medication generics donde puedo comprar cialis sin receta en mexico finasteride mastercard bromocriptine 2.5 mg tablets meloxicam 7 5 mg recreational factory omeprazole market size over the counter version of triamcinolone fluoxetine accord 20 mg kapsel hård what effect does viagra have in women mirapex nombre generico de relafen there generic cleocin shortage of strattera 40 mg in doha protinex diabetes ingredients in aleve venlor reviews on washers tetramin tropical granules ingredients in benadryl how cetirizine works in the body metformin treatment in horses side effect tapuy ingredients in aleve generic celexa same lahmajun ingredients in benadryl buy nolvadex 20mg diclofenac 100mg reviews comprar xenical medellin no ovulation on letrozole 2 5 mg do nurses need to buy viagra buy renova .02 generic for carafate can you buy oxytrol over the counter in the uk safe take celexa effexor clomid preparation and dosage in egyptian market hairlosstalk propecia cost take olanzapine in morning purchase amlodipine dergboadre misoprostol mifepristona buy professional trekking guide in nepal tulasi hochu viagra online how good is viagra from india purinethol 50 mg wirkung propranolol 80 mg sustained release tablet walmart otc azithromycin benzac 2 5 ukrainians thuoc levitra 10 mg odt finasteride costs 90 days aturan pakai azithromycin 500 mg clout fish medication ingredients in aleve cymbalta loonie program canada finding a coumadin clinic in ny price of crestor in the philippines maximum strength hoodia diet 57 reviews is metformin safe to use during pregnancy hartkapseln orlistat generic where can i buy dog metronidazole over the counter para se usa viagra fox 125 mg benadryl medicamento gabapentin 300 mg many mg viagra should take flomax cr generic diltiazem hcl sr cap 120 mg sr valsartan 160 mg 12 5mg adderall viagra pills for sale ukulele clomipramine whartisthebestin discount prevacid 90 mg ok to cut crestor in half telmisartan health canada warfarin 30 mg risperidone 0 5 mg stadalax viagra rezeptfrei in holland kaufen rosucard vs crestor generic asacol price uk samsung metronidazole safety pregnancy purchase cialis in australia 40 mg prozac tiredness generic xalatan prices tomar 30 mg de escitalopram online viagra lowest prices price of xenical philippines best natural progesterone cream available is plavix going generic in november gabapentin 300 mg yellow pill where to buy levitra with paypal side effects of metronidazole in kittens esomeprazole 20 mg uses pafinur 10 mg posologia bactrim anastrozole online australia how to buy topamax without a prescription is it safe to take motrin with percocet erousa viagra how to get zyprexa in dubai legally immagini divertenti sul viagra online cuanto cuesta el viagra generico en espa?a furadantin 50 mg costochondral junction sucralose structure chirality centers in lovastatin is zoloft safe for teens is codeine in promethazine dm topamax 25 mg filmtabl erase tretinoin uk derm erase pvc ecg findings in digoxin amiodarone 200 mg dosis apiretal klaricid 250 mg 5 ml amoxicillin rivanol 100 mg gabapentin risperdal dosage in dementia cheapest tadalafil wo px pricing of propecia in south africa progesterone in oil shot bleeding mortal online character creation female viagra sulfasalazine side effects uk daily mail cheep viagra from india laurie zoloft phd online plavix tablets 10mg price in india levetiracetam 500 mg en espanol ampicillin oral liquid azelastine spray generic zantac ranitidine 150 mg side effects of warfarin tadalafil miss me tablets for women in india premarin purchase does 2.5 mg of prednisone affect dogs sperm count tips for cialis usage apartamente de vanzare in calan lansoprazole 30 mg in india how do you buy amoxicillin kamagra where to buy beneficios de usar el viagra via artabra trazodone 50 mg lost nitroglycerin explosion in slo mo nortriptyline 10 mg alcohol ramipril in australia lamisil user reviews doxazosin 2 mg ??? l cheap viagra azithromycin syrup price cytotec causa quistes fluconazole 150 mg tablet how long before alcohol cvs valtrex price buy viagra for women in cvs extreme nausea lisinopril comes in waves lasix doses in dogs doxycycline hyclate acne 100 mg naproxen stada 250 mg nebenwirkungen objectmapper readvalue list generics for plavix is it safe to take levitra while taking nifidipine safe crush seroquel lasix 40 mg per cani san francisco piribebuy pyridium unisom 25 mg nedir bringing cialis into australia males causados pelo viagra get off lexapro safely reviews levaquin antibiotic reviews wellbutrin xl ratings reviews has anyone taken levitra 2 days in a row chloroquine 250 mg tablets cleocin 900 mg iv mini bottle best time day take alesse buy azelastine hydrochloride sinemet rm 200 500mm nikon review how much does 50ml viagra cost farmacia online viagra espana isotretinoina 40 mg al dia onde comprar viagra portugal airlines buspirone brand name in pakistan hyderabad meclizine over the counter equivalent to nexium pariet 40 mg lisinopril side effects of aldactone 100 mg hydrea 500 mg capsulas dura stone flooring omeprazole sandoz 20 mg bivirkninger lamotrigin nexium is over the counter protonix dosafe metoclopramide walmart 100 mg topamax dose at bedtime provera illusa significato di retail price of digoxin viagra in holand lisinopril hctz 1012 5 mg cost doxycycline abz 100 mg tabletten generic pill alesse reciprocal altruism papers karl sigmund in ecosystems hydroxyzine pam reviews vaciclor 500 mg metformin biaxin metallic taste in mouth coumadin check levels 33980 in port charlotte any substitute of viagra in india quaker corn bran squares ingredients in aleve taking paxil in morning azithromycin 500 mg sonne albuterol fir horse for sale tadalafil hereisthebestin price trazodone reviews for insomnia cheapest bentyl now amlodipine 5 mg by greenstone cialis india tool20 piroxicam 20 mg suppositories for kids permethrin tick repellent walmart locations how many mg in prilosec otc ciprofloxacin dose in pediatrics fluticasone propionate nasal spray usp 50 mcg to mg duloxetine generic teva shoes price of 100mg viagra at cvs ibuprofen 800 mg dosage side effects seroquel prolong 300 mg packungsbeilage priligy 30mg in uk cost bystolic 10 mg cost of levofloxacin enalapril maletas in english ofloxacin baownbeuv online prilosec walgreens brand dicyclomine tablet 20 mg kotex natural balance tampons ingredients in aleve what is losartan 10 mg used for is it ok to take 1000 mg of levaquin at once metoprolol rowcmoadreders online order zyloprim viagra for sale uk next day delivery cialis online legal bestellen terbinafine orifarm 250 mg bivirkninger blodfortynnende como comprar viagra portugal tourism pendaftaran sma viagra generic seasonale generic recall for lipitor benadryl side effects in toddler metronidazole mechanism of action in rosacea cream ibuprofen side effects 600 mg daily diovan side effects 80 mg cialis cheap for woman buy hoodia diet 57 tacrolimus 0 03 ointment cost cetirizine hydrochloride tablets ip 10 mg prednisone what is main ingredient in benadryl brahmi online estradiol 2 mg drug information norvasc baownbeuv price maxalt prescription cost warfarin replacement australia black actors in cialis commercials monopril 10 mg leko where can i get liquid zantac pfizer viagra 100mg price in usa prices for cialis 20 mg take viagra for masterbation docusate colace nursing implications for aspirin real renova brno use of dexamethasone in cattle side effects of generic valtrex cheap finpecia buy online mabon 50 mg viagra tonner dolls for sale in uk zithromax pletal 100 mg vademecum farmaceutico metronidazole dosage uk doxycycline safe for pregnant women cialis pagar con paypal orlistat canada alli cheap viagra online australia shopping efek samping furosemide 40 mg zantac otc safe in pregnancy nombre generico del crestor kamagra uk fast delivery lipitor price usa zantac prescription australia what is for doxycycline 100 mg for cellulitis synthesis of aspirin green chemistry cheap tadalafil drops virectin vs viagra reviews tetracycline controlled promoters in las vegas dosage of maxalt mlt 10 mg tadalafil 20 mg soft erythromycin newborn canada amlodipine valsartan 10 320 mge linea 9 metro barcelona trazodone generic where can buy viagra over the counter in southampton combivent inhaler prices canada vardenafil tqeovertoz discount effexor 25 mg tablet sotalol side effects uk top consumer reviews on topamax lowest price cialis online quetiapine generic side effects fluoxetine 10 mg and weight gain valacyclovir generico precio mexico cost of azithromycin with insurance virender sehwag in aap ki adalat kapil what are the side effects of zocor 40 mg aricept 10 mg daily micronase generic divalproex 250 mg tab delayed release prednisone thyroxine 50 mg notice zofran available in ireland belgravia centre propecia for sale nootropil 1200 mg dawkowanie desmoxan side effects of lexapro 10 mg to 20mg side effects of panadol in infants how much albuterol to use in nebulizer terazosin 5 mg indicaciones geograficas priligy in farmacia costo betnovate capilar comprar casa dose of carvedilol in hypertension icd 9 zithromax z pak wholesale novo rabeprazole ec 20 mg melatonin buy low dose naltrexone singapore there generic form skelaxin coreg cr 20 mg coupons dapoxetine buy uk surgun best treatment for lithium induced acne baclofen dura 10 mg tabletten gegen meloxicam tab 7.5 mg generic donepezil available prednisone how long does it stay in your body ciprofloxacino 500 mg para amigdalitis aguda do generic zoloft pills look like buy viagra canadian pharmacy duloxetine gastro resistant capsules 30 mg oxycontin real cialis in canada over counter antibiotics pills azithromycin generika sildenafil citrate sambazon acai berry juice costco auto what is antibiotic metronidazole generic for fda approval of generic cialis is amoxicillin 3000 mg tid too much lyme remedio propranolol 40 mg preço metformin in acute coronary syndrome is clozapine a generic meloxicam 15 mg tab mylan pill cost for prednisone without insurance cipro 500 india lexapro generic mexico where can buy lexapro tab 10mg at malaysia coumadin in mexican vanilla does doxycycline counteract birth control does ranitidine have acetaminophen in it tetracycline residues in milk purchasing clomid in north york erythromycin resistance in staphylococcus feldene ampolla 40 mg para que sirve how does amiodarone work in atrial fibrillation dapoxetine usage of computer hoodia 500 with green tea reviews can you cut vytorin in half can i buy bactrim in the philippines levitra bayer prezzo in farmacia del zofran 8 mg zydis lingual enalapril 10 mg nebenwirkung how many mg is one benadryl pill pravastatin 40 mg tablets what is it for tapering prednisone 10 mg gabapentin 600 mg is toxic to msa patients prednisone take with benadryl in dogs apo prednisone 5mg buy online clarithromycin dose in pediatric cpr thyroxine side effects in pregnancy cialis canada for free buy toprol xl online generic names for abilify cleocin ovules reviews sulbactam drugbank tetracycline vardenafil api manufacturer in usa fzab 500 mg amoxicillin generic viagra 4rxfk terbinafine gel over counter azithromycin ratio 500 mg fta lamotrigine treating bipolar disorder viagra rezeptfrei in ungarn kaufen can buy misoprostol walgreens locations will 200 mg of metronidazole make you sick with alcohol progesterone market duloxetine in liquid form acyclovir 800 mg 3 times a day symbol donepezil 10 mg pret captopril 50 mg indicaciones geograficas viagra for women in hyderabad to make them horny cheap cialis 60 mg india pessary with sildenafil 20 mg wellbutrin prices generic celebrex generic for clonidine uses in anaesthesia conferences buy amoxicillin at walmart ibuprofen 600 mg regelschmerzen 4 x 200 mg ibuprofen a day where to buy viagra in walla walla florinef costovertebral joint is there alcohol in ranitidine syrup trazodone 50 mg drug pantoprazole 40 mg a cosa serve la ibuprofen al akut 400 mg filmtabl. 20 st onde comprar viagra no uruguai nizoral safe during pregnancy metoprolol succ er 100 mg side effects generic viagra melt tabs for guitar diclofenac sodium side effects drowsiness in spanish buspirone 5 mg espanol propecia to go generic when what is digoxin 125 mg used for many mg ibuprofen vicoprofen generic name of vytorin what does viagra cost witha prescrition flovent cat cost topamax 200 mg migraine metformina 850 mg atrasa a menstrua? cetirizine dihydrochloride 10 mg ??? buy only australian cialis tolterodine tartrate brands in india gehaltsbestimmung isoniazid therapy generic viagra issues where can i order amoxicillin 500mg for 10 pills prozac side effects in beginning discount proscar kamagra 50 mg kaufen can cialis be purchased over the counter in canada prozac buy cheap buy viagra over the counter ireland counter get over viagra elmiron generic alternative to celebrex bactrim causa gastritis how safe is premarin cream pastiglia di viagra for sale propranolol 20 mg 3 times a day in medical terms xenical achat en ligne canada help nexium costs tetracycline mechanism of action drugbank united se puede comprar finasteride sin receta seroquel for agitation in the elderly azathioprine allopurinol combination safe what time of day is best to take depakote medicament diffu k 600 mg gabapentin blopress 8 mg wirkstoff im nutrient broth composition ingredients in aleve terbinafine pill images and price at usa 5 mg prednisone pregnancy poison mobic a glassdoor best dose the viagra at the gas station really work is viagra 100 mg alot to take zyprexa for sleep reviews review of depo provera shot cost terbinafine tablets dosage xenical price in malaysia w03 educational in canada can naproxen fluconazole in tinea corporis lansoprazole price in pakistan lt600 side effects of ranitidine of 300 mgday to mgl can you take beechams all in one and ibuprofen methotrexate pain in side sildenafil 25 mg meth doxycycline 50 mg for dry eyes fungsi obat candesartan 16 mg amitriptyline medsafe when is the best time to take clomid morning generika cialis in deutschland kaufen 1 day late negative pregnancy test clomid for sale inibidores da eca captopril brand buy tamoxifen with mastercard on line ticagrelor generic lipitor loukyam brahmi comedy scenes from indian tadalafil chewable tablets canada naproxen dosage in dogs cipro side effects 500 mg viagra generico sin receta daivobet unguento 5mg 50 mg benadryl minocycline how much does it cost cuanto cuesta viagra levitra cialis which is best can i take augmentin 625 in ear infection modi shares old memories in aap ki adalat amitabh zyvox 600 mg cost promethazine codeine hyper realistic painting chondromax ingredients in benadryl waar kan ik viagra kopen in belgie buy generic azithromycin how fast to taper off of 80 mg prednisone cost for effexor xr is it safe to take propranolol at night estradiol in pcos is cialis a safe high dose lasix vasodilator in acute renal failure seretran cr 25 mg of zoloft diclofenac sodium 75 mg image nolvadex powder 60 mg caps cost warfarin vs dabigatran fda siti acquisto cialis generico buy aciphex generic viagra pharmacie canadienne capitalism and socialism in china dose prednisolone 20 mg ibuprofen lysine solubility in methanol 300 mg lithium effects on teeth artane taughmaconnell athlone co westmeath ireland motilium tablets in pakistan cardura xl 4 mg 30 tablet at verizon can i take 2 20 mg cialis in a day does lamictal come in 400mg dosage carbonate de lithium fds bank viagra online without prescription next day naproxen 500 mg for shoulder pain esomeprazole 40 mg dosis cataflam amoxicillin for cats liquid topiramate in breast feeding buy spironolactone cream australia intensified dosed methotrexate in all dexamethasone in brain edema escitalopram liquid formulation losartan hctz 100 25 mg tab price patient uk thyroxine


Brainstorm
Services

EDUCATIONAL
MATERIALS


West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

West Chester University

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001

 

 

 

Home

Contact

Course Information
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements
  LIT 165 Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assigmments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2005)
  Adieu to Imaginary Worlds
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  ASSIGNMENT SHEET: Paper #3
  Notes on 'Before the Law'
  Samuel Beckett Links
  Notes on 'Waiting for Godot'
  Approaching 'Waiting for Godot'
  Notes on 'Axolotl' by Julio Cortazar
  Notes on 'EPICAC' by Kurt Vonnegut
  ASSIGNMENT SHEET: Paper #2
  DIRECTIONS: Independent Project
  Suggested Readings: Independent Project
  Utopia/Dystopia Links
  Character Analysis: Brave New World
  Analyzing the Brave New World
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on the Brave New World
  A Critique of BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Dante Links
  Inferno: Final Destinations, Cantos XXXII-XXXIV
  Inferno: Malebolge, Cantos XVIII-XXXI
  Inferno: Questions/Analysis, Cantos XII - XVII
  Structure in the Inferno: Analysis, Cantos V - XI
  Inferno: Questions for Analysis, Cantos I - V
  Introducing Canto I
  Approaching the Divine Comedy
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Our Goals for Studying the Inferno
  Assignment Sheet: PAPER #1
  The Birthmark
  Leaf By Niggle
  Responses to Leaf By Niggle
  'On Fairy Stories' by J.R.R. Tolkien
  Notes on Ovid and 'Metamorphoses'
  Analyzing the Mythic Tales
  The Four Functions of Myth
  Myth and Metaphor
  Myth - Links
  Filtering the Introduction to 'Fantastic Worlds'
  Allegory
  'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' and 'The Zebra Storyteller
  Introducing the 'Imaginary Worlds' Theme
  Alice In Wonderland
  The Metamorphosis

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2004)
  Conference Schedule: 4/21 and 4/26
  Commentary: Following Up Your Response
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources
  What is Argument?
  Parts of an Argument
  Casebook Assignment Sheet
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Essay#1
  Expressive Writing
  Short Stories About Identity
  Thoughts on Stories About Identity
  Poems About Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Mind-map: Identity

ENG Q20: Basic Writing (Fall 2004)
  ENG Q20 Syllabus
  Frederick Douglass Excerpt
  Propaganda Analysis
  How to Detect Propaganda
  George Orwell's Politics and the English Language
  Propaganda Analysis Exercise

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library

 

~~ Inferno: Final Destinations ~~


Gustavé Dore

The Eighth Circle, Malebolge
Sins of Fraud

Malebolge, Dante's name for the Eighth Circle, furthers our understanding of the circular, funnel-shaped landscape; it's graded very steeply downward towards a low, central pit. This central pit will be the next and last circle, the very bottom and center of Hell. Before arriving at the center, the pit, the travelers have to make their way into and then up out of 10 deep ditches, or "pouches" ("bolgia"), that make up the eighth circle. Each pouch is devised to punish a particular class of sins, all related to fraud. The contrapasso becomes more and more severe the deeper the travelers descend. At the bottom of Malebolge, the horror is not for faint-hearted readers.

Fraud incurs a severe form of divine justice because it involves the active use of reason, our distinctly human, angelic faculty, for unnatural ends. The sins of incontinence may be less severely punished because they can be considered crimes of passion which don't involve the intellect as directly. Sins of violence can go either way-they are sometimes crimes of passion, sometimes premeditated. Although of course there are exceptions, Dante considers violent crime against one's neighbor likely to involve the least amount of will, whereas violence against God, Art ("God's grandchild"), and Nature would be more likely to involve the will. Fraud, however, always involves what Dante considers a perversion of human intelligence-that is, human intelligence used for evil (rather than angelic) purposes. Fraudulent activities always involve the active use of reason; conscious free will is always in operation.
Since humans, according to the Great Chain of Being, distinguish themselves from the "lower" animals by their superior intelligence, it stands to reason that to corrupt this aspect of yourself, to abuse reason, is to fail most miserably at being a human being, and to be, consequently, the worst possible sinner.

Malebolge is the place where these sinners are punished and it is constructed this way:

Canto XVIII (18)
In Ditch One demons whip the pimps and the seducers as they shuffle along. One of the notable sinners we encounter here is the classical figure of Jason, who features prominently in Greek mythology (Jason and the Golden Fleece, Jason and Medea).

Ditch Two contains the Flatterers who are sunk up to their necks in excrement. The contrapasso is not hard to figure out here: they spewed "b.s." while alive, so now they get to swim in it. Note the way Virgil hurries Dante along out of this pouch… "Let our sight be satisfied" he says, but I'm sure his nose was eager to make a quick getaway, too.

Canto XIX (19)
Ditch Three is reserved for the Simoniacs (sellers of church favors). These sinners are thrust upside down in underground barrels that remind Dante of the baptismal fonts he's seen in church. All we see are the flailing legs of the sinners, who are further tormented by a fire which burns the soles of their feet. Dante is attracted by one pair of squirming legs that seem to be more agitated than the others; this turns out to be Pope Nicholas III. We learn that he will stay in this position until Boniface arrives, then, like the other sinners in this region, he'll be squeezed further down into the underground rock crevices, where other souls have been layered and pressed flat before him, one upon the other for all eternity.

  • Note how, in his address to readers at the beginning of the Canto, Dante expresses full acceptance, full understanding of Divine Justice; in his opening lines he even levels a kind of threat for readers to beware of sinning in this way. He seems to be gaining confidence, getting his bearings. He's not disturbed by the terrible punishment he sees; on the contrary, he seems more than gratified. He can barely restrain himself as he lashes out boldly at Pope Nicholas III
    (p. 155). This outburst marks real progress in Dante's battle against pity. He has no pity for the squirming Pope, but rather enjoys the sight. We infer that Virgil is pleased by this response.
  • Notice, too, how Dante acknowledges Virgil's ability to read him like a book (p. 153). Ever since they've resolved their quarrel, we've been observing Virgil's ability to anticipate Dante's feelings, to guess his innermost thoughts. Here is where Dante openly acknowledges Virgil's uncanny ability to "read him." It's a motif (a recurring event) that appears throughout this circle, as we see Virgil anticipating Dante's thoughts so intimately it almost seems as if he can read Dante's mind. Can he? Why does Dante want to call attention to this? What's the significance of Virgil's ability to tune into Dante's thoughts and feelings so precisely?

Canto XX (20)
In Ditch Four Dante sees the Fortunetellers. These sinners have been contorted and twisted so that their heads face backwards. Because they claimed (falsely) to be able to "see" the future, they must spend eternity seeing only the past. Like commuters sitting backwards on a bus or a train, they seem to be moving backwards, and they can never see ahead, a fitting contrapasso. Here Dante finds Tiresias, the prophet of ancient Greek myth, as well as other false prophets, palm readers, and fortunetellers.

  • The battle against pity resumes as Dante sympathizes with the fortunetellers who are contorted and twisted so that their heads face backward, an ingenious contrapasso for their sins. Virgil has strong words for Dante, seeing him once again making this error in judgment (p. 159).
  • Notice how Virgil launches into a long discourse on the history of his hometown, Mantua. Dante comments that Virgil's speech inspires "certainty," presumably because it is about the past rather than the future. If we want to see clearly, we have to look behind and understand where we've been, not try to "divine" the future through false prophesies, a pagan practice. Notice how Dante, after Virgil's history lesson, says that his mind "turns back" to the fortunetellers and their fate, which is a clever pun. It also re-emphasizes Dante's mistaken orientation in this canto, which has Virgil a little peeved. They are still talking as they exit the pouch, about what we can only imagine. Perhaps Virgil is lecturing Dante on his misplaced sympathies.

Canto XXI - XXII (21 - 22)
Ditch Five holds the Grafters. These are people who use their official offices for profit or personal gain; they make money or win advantage by an abuse of their office. Barratry, specifically, is the buying or selling of church or state office. These sinners are sunk in sticky tar ("pitch"). They are carefully watched by the "Malebranche," a troop of demons armed with razor-sharp hooks and claws with which they jab at sinners who try to rise up from under the pitch.

  • Despite Virgil's rebuke in the last Canto, Dante and Virgil have been chatting like chums. They do not quarrel at all anymore, even when Dante is in the wrong. Virgil has learned not to get haughty with Dante even when he applies corrections. Notice how Virgil is as alert as ever as he moves very quickly to protect Dante from the Malebranche.
  • These two cantos are known for their slapstick comedy. They provide a measure of comic relief from the seriousness that's been and the horror that's to come.
      1. We see one sinner as he rises butt first and the Malebranche laugh at and call it his "Sacred Face," which is a reference to a landmark in the city where he comes from.
      2. Sinners are compared to meat in a stew of tar.
      3. When the demons try to attack Virgil he plays them like a fiddle; there's no real danger or fear involved. Virgil has learned that evoking the heavenly power is all that's needed. There's no ego left.
      4. Despite the heavenly protection, the demons beg to give Dante just "one touch on the rump." Their leader rebukes them.
      5. The leader's name is "Malacoda" or "Bad-Tail," which is funnier to us if we translate it "Bad Ass." Bad-Ass ends Canto 21 with a fart. ("And the leader made a trumpet of his ass.") Timeless bathroom humor?
      6. The troop of Malebranche all have names that are puns on the names of prominent families from an Italian city Dante is parodying.
      7. In Canto 22, a sinner is caught because he's too stupid or too slow to dive away. All we know about him is that he's from Navarre.
      8. The Malebranche rip at the lazy sinner they've caught, but it's not horrifying. Just as he was slow getting away, he's slow to respond to his punishment, which involves ripping out a muscle in his arm. He just "stares at his wound" (p. 181). Then he proceeds to lie through his teeth. He wheels and deals and "sells" them a promise of seven other souls to torment, if they just stand aside and let him whistle. They suspect his cunning and threaten him elaborately, but he convinces them he'll be cunning on their behalf. When he dives away and escapes, the demons are so furious at being tricked they end up fighting among themselves and they end up in the pitch. They are baked to a hard crust before they can be "rescued."
  • The whole experience is likened to an Aesop's fable at the beginning of the next canto: the treacherous frog (the Malebranche) are defeated and the innocent mouse (Virgil and Dante) go free.

Canto XXIII (23)
A somber tone returns as we accompany Dante through Ditch Six, where Dante meets the Hypocrites who plod along weighed down by deceptively painful robes that appear spectacularly beautiful on the outside, but inside are lined with heavy lead. The splendid appearance belies the soul-crushing reality, just as hypocrites deliberately manipulate appearances to fool us about reality.

  • Notice how Dante's intelligence kicks into high gear. He's not the same dumbfounded, confused wanderer we met in Canto I any longer. As he reflects upon the "comic" encounter with the grafters-how it has been like walking through an Aesop's fable (the frog and the mouse)-Dante suddenly realizes that the Malebranche are likely to be hopping mad and looking for vengeance. He suggests getting out of there right away, before there's trouble. Virgil readily agrees, and we see something new here. Dante is the one to suggest the plan of action; Virgil goes along-it's a real sign of progress.
  • Dante's progress is also Virgil's progress, in a way. In this Canto, we get the vivid image of Virgil swiftly and unconsciously, unconditionally lifting Dante away from danger, just as a mother might unthinkingly move to protect her child. Not only is Virgil fatherly, he's motherly, too. His loving care is a source of strength for Dante as they continue through the ditches.
  • Notice how angry Virgil gets when he realizes that the Malebranche lied to him! His anger explodes across his brow, which Dante finds disturbing. There is a little bit of suspense as to how Virgil will react to his anger that leads us into the next Canto.

Canto XXIV - XXV (24 - 25)
Here in Ditch Seven the Thieves are punished by monstrous snakes that surround and attack them. At first they coil like ropes around the hands, binding them fast. Once the hands are bound and the bite inflicted, the sinner explodes into flame and the two melt like hot wax, losing all substance until they are reduced to a pile of ashes. From the flaming ashes, the sinner re-forms and must endure the same torment again and again. Later, the travelers witness a variation: the thief and the serpent "exchange substances," slowing morphing into one another.

  • The long, elaborate pastoral simile that opens Canto 24 recalls Virgil's Eclogues, a little-used form he borrowed from the Greeks and developed masterfully. Pastoral poetry celebrates the simple agricultural life and the virtues of living close to nature; here Dante dabbles in the pastoral form (is there anything he can't do?) to demonstrate how Virgil is able to put his anger aside, how he is able to master that animal emotion, that bestial side of himself-he can conquer his body-something he will urge Dante to accomplish later in the Canto. This is a highly significant moment in the book, I think. Dante is observing Virgil very closely because he's disturbed by the anger that he saw erupting in the last Canto. He's waiting to see what will happen, where this anger will go. As he's looking closely at Virgil he's amazed at what he sees. Virgil conquers his anger. The only way to describe it is to compare it to the pastoral image of a late winter snow melting away at the first sharp, powerful rays of late winter sun. The light of intellect is no match for the animal emotion. Dante is filled with love and admiration for his mentor, his friend. He recalls fondly the "sweet face" that came to rescue him in the dark wood of Canto I. It's a touching moment-both because of Virgil's strength of character and because of Dante's warm response to it. And because Dante has paid such close attention, he's more likely to be able to emulate his noble friend and teacher, who is demonstrating how to have self-control, how to make the body, the emotions, obey the reason, the will.
  • Virgil has to lecture Dante when it seems he's giving into his body, which is tired from a hard climb. Virgil observes that Dante still lacks the strength of will he'll need to complete his journey. He steps in to coach, to motivate. Athletes may want to take note of the passage (p. 199) in which Virgil urges Dante to dig deep and find the soul to go on despite being tired of body. He argues that FAME (honor, reputation, being known for your great deeds) is only won by putting your whole soul into the effort and conquering your body. What is life without fame? A thin wisp of smoke easily dispersed into thin air. To really win fame (a form of earthly immortality to correspond to spiritual immortality), you must conquer your body. Dante responds and really tries to follow Virgil's advice, hiding his tiredness in a stream of speech. Philadelphia sports fans demand no less of their teams than what Virgil demands here.
  • After we see Fucci flaming into ashes, he tells Dante a prophecy "to bring him grief." It's a prediction about Dante's bleak political future. Yet does it bring Dante grief? He never even mentions it! He completely shrugs off the need to tally these worldly gains and losses now. He has his eyes on the prize.
  • At the beginning of Canto 25, there's the indelible image of Fucci giving two "figs" to God, a major blasphemy. He runs away, demons hot in pursuit. It's a small moment, but it's one of those small moments that resound in a big way. Is the cup half empty or half full? The audacity of his protest is funny, but the futility of it is infinitely sad.
  • The horror of the thief who exchanges substance with a serpent is something new in terms of metamorphoses, as Dante can't help boasting. (He's not humble. There'll be no false modesty.) Let Ovid and Lucan (both famous Roman poets of antiquity) come and look on. The contrapasso is pretty obvious: the thieves stole others' substance, so they must lose their own.

Canto XXVI - XXVII (26 - 27)
The Evil Counselors are punished in Ditch Eight, completely encased in flames that perhaps symbolize their guilty consciences. Here Dante sees Ulysses and Diomede, the instigators of the Trojan Horse ploy.

  • The highlight of this canto is the travelers' encounter with Ulysses, the hero of Homer's great epics, the Iliad, which tells the story of Greeks' defeat of Troy, and the Odyssey, which tells the story of Ulysses' adventures as he returns home from the Trojan War.
  • Dante's portrayal of Ulysses is ambiguous, like many of the great memorable characters we meet in the Inferno. Like Francesca, Farinata, and Brunetto Latini, Ulysses' "sin" may be recognized by some readers as a kind of nobility; all of these characters present "traps" for the Pilgrim, who must struggle to understand the nature of their sin, and his own, since many of these characters are not only vividly themselves but also very much complex projections of the various aspects of Dante's own self. Just as we felt sympathy for Francesca the lover, Latini the scholar, and Farinata the proud Florentine, Ulysses gains our sympathy-maybe even more so. As with the previous characters, there are many parallels between Dante and Ulysses to observe. First, understand that Dante invents this episode in the life of Ulysses. He imagines Ulysses' death. It is not in Homer or Virgil. As far as those poets are concerned Ulysses was a great hero who helped the Greeks win the Trojan War; at the end of the Odyssey, he is home with his wife and son. That is where Homer leaves him.
    • Now look at what Dante invents for him, beginning with his speech on p. 221. Note the nobility of character and the noble aim. If Ulysses has a tragic flaw, it must be his wanderlust, his thirst for "experience"-for knowledge of the world which is not his to have. Why can't he have it? Why is it forbidden? Why does his ship sink within sight of Mt. Purgatory?
    • What are the parallels between Dante and Ulysses?
    • Ulysses drowns in the sea that Dante has metaphorically come out of in Canto I (he almost drowned, but didn't). Both characters come within sight of Mt. Purgatory but can't reach it. Both have pursued it by the wrong road. Ulysses "thirst for knowledge" is pagan, and Dante has equally lost the "straight road." When Ulysses spots Purgatory, God sends out a storm to destroy his ship, whereas Dante (metaphorically) swims ashore where Virgil finds him in the dark wood.
    • Both characters have a thirst for knowledge; when he was younger Dante pursued learning with vigor and thought Philosophy was to be his "consolation" after the death of Beatrice. Ulysses eloquently expresses his hungry and very human desire for knowledge and experience.
    • Both are leaders, counselors-but Ulysses supposedly gives false counsel (to his crew) and Dante true (his Commedia).
    • Both are extremely clever (the Commedia is Dante's clever achievement; the Trojan Horse is Ulysses').
  • In Canto 27, we meet Montefeltro, another "false counselor," a contemporary of Dante's this time, a character whose discussion seems to prefigure some of the Machiavellian arguments made in The Prince, a hundred and fifty years or so later. This is interesting because the character would never speak about these secret things if he thought word would get out. These are the dirty little secrets that politicians like to keep hidden from public view, but which Dante exposes here, well before Machiavelli.

Canto XXVIII (28)
Ditch Nine condemns the schismatics-the sowers of religious, political, and family discord. In life these sinners tore at the fabric of a sacred tapestry; their punishment is to experience the same manner of tearing. Dante meets Mahomet (Mohammed), the founder of Islam, one of the "worst" schismatics, responsible for ripping people away from Christianity. Mahomet's is sliced open from his head to his middle, his entrails dangling for all to see. Later Dante finds Bertrand de Born, a French troubadour, or knight, traditionally blamed for the rift between Henry II and his son. Horrifyingly, de Born's head is completely severed; his headless trunk holds its head before him like a lantern, one of the most gruesome scenes in the whole poem.

  • It makes sense that the blood and gore which feature prominently in this canto should be present. Schism leads to feuding and war. There's an immediate focus in this canto on the horrors of war, the physical and mental toll it takes, the insanity that can ensue.
  • The ripped torsos of Mahomet and Ali, his nephew, are vivid and horrifying…Muslims would not like this canto.
  • The severed head at the end of the canto is one of the more gruesome images in the entire Inferno, though we've yet to experience the horrors of Circle 9.
  • Notice that Dante expresses a modified kind of pity at the beginning of the Canto (p. 245, 247), but he'll lose his pity entirely by Circle 9. This is the last of it.

Canto XXIX - XXX (29-30)
In Ditch Ten Dante views the falsifiers-alchemists, evil impersonators ( NOT Elvis impersonators!), counterfeiters, and false witnesses. These sinners, who in life, corrupted all, now are made to endure every sort of corruption and pain. Darkness, dirt, filth, disease, hunger, thirst and noise surround them.

  • Notice Virgil rebukes Dante sternly for his "low desire" to eavesdrop…Dante is so shamed that Virgil forgives him right away.

Canto XXXI (31): An Interlude
Canto 31 is a chance for the travelers to get their bearings. They're about to enter the 9th Circle…they can see, through the mist, darkly. At the bottom of Malebolge a ring of Giants guard the central pit.


THEMATIC OBSERVATIONS


William Blake

If you've been following the "battle against pity" theme, you can note especially:

  • Dante rides the roller coaster through much of the book, feeling pity, feeling disgust, feeling pity once again, but he does make some solid progress, especially by the end.
  • Read the Cantos in circle nine with the battle against pity theme in mind. What do you notice?

If you've been following developments in the relationship between Dante and Virgil, you can note especially:

Virgil and Dante develop a very poignant relationship, one of total trust, deep bonding. Virgil is very parental towards Dante, very nurturing, and very loving. There are many instances in the second half of the book where Virgil carries Dante like a father or mother would carry a child. He is a stern authority when authority is needed-he is always alert and ready to provide the right correction and guidance. Dante stops battling with Virgil completely in the second half of the book; he is completely trusting. The two are so tuned into each other that Virgil can practically read Dante's mind. Some critics have suggested that he actually does read Dante's mind, but I think that is a misreading, myself. It's just that Virgil is so intelligent; he's always one step ahead of Dante, able to anticipate his problems, guess his apprehensions. On one level, he personifies Reason, remember. It is very poignant when, in the ninth circle, Virgil steps back and you hardly hear from him. The pupil has learned the lesson so well that he can travel through the deepest most horrible section of Hell and leave his pity behind (way behind, we see). Dante proves, by the time they leave the ninth circle, that he's learned what he needs to know about the nature of sin, and the nature of sinners, and he's ready to take on the next stage of his journey. As observant readers, we know Virgil's calm example, his poise and his intelligence, have been a big part of Dante's success. Dante never would have made it out of the woods without Virgil. There's a poignant scene in which Dante recalls that scene in the dark woods when Virgil came to rescue him; he remembers Virgil's "sweet face."

Imaginary worlds and their "truth"

Back in Canto XVI, Dante is about to describe Geryon, and he says:

"A man should close his lips, if he's able to,
When faced by truth that has the face of lies,
But here I cannot be silent; reader, I vow
By my Commedia's ines-so may they not fail…"
He goes on to describe the fantastic monster, Geryon. Why this elaborate prelude? Why this justification that what seems like a "lie" is actually "true"?

Again in Canto XXXII, he urges himself not let words "diverge from fact."

What can Dante mean when he insists his story is true, despite the fact that everyone immediately knows it is a "fiction." How is it both "fictional" and "true"? If it isn't true in its surface details-these are fictional characters (no matter how "real") in a fictional setting (no matter how "believable")-what exactly is true about it? What "truth" can it tell? Does it tell the truth?

This gets to the heart of what literature has to offer in its deepest sense-a form of truth, artistic truth. Although the details of the fictional journey might not be "literally" true in the sense that Minos and Geryon and Lucifer and the rest obviously do not "exist," the journey, along with its vivid cast of characters, is "true" allegorically, symbolically, metaphorically. Dante declares that the truth need not reside on the literal level; the poetic image, the metaphor, can convey allegorical, symbolic truth which is equally valid, equally worthwhile. It's what the metaphor suggests about the nature of ourselves and our world that we respond to as "true." In that sense, we might decide Genesis is "true," although we might not believe in a literal "Garden" and a literal "Adam and Eve." This is the same decision we make (about truth) whether we're reading about a fantastic, alternate world like the Inferno or a very realistic world like the one Tim O'Brien evokes in his Vietnam masterpiece, The Things They Carried. Great literature, by providing us with provocative poetic images make us feel, make us think, make us imagine, is always an invitation to truth: the truth about the very things we think of as "human."


Gustavé Dore

 

 

 

 

     

 


Questions? Contact me.

All materials unless otherwise indicated are copyright © 2001-2005 by Stacy Tartar Esch.

The original contents of this site may not be reproduced, republished, reused, or retransmitted
without the express written consent of Stacy Tartar Esch.
These contents are for educational purposes only.