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20091006-11 Inferno, cantos 9-17 (Group 4)

Page history last edited by William Brantley 10 years, 11 months ago



    Today in class we continued our discussion of Dante's Divine Comedy by defining the crime and the punishment of each of the Circles of Hell featured on the map on page 1206. 

  •  Ante-Inferno: Neutrals (wasps stings, bleeding, pus, chasing a banner)
  •  One "Limbo": Virtuous Pagans (stuck longing to see God)
  •  Two: Lustful (stuck in a whirlwind)
  • Three: Gluttons (rain and mud)
  •  Four: Prodigals and Miserly (roll big weights)
  •  Five: Wrathful (attack selves and others) and Slothful (under mud, making bubbles)
  •  Six: Heretics (one burning grave)
  •  Seven: Violent:
    •  Against Neighbors (boiling blood river)
    •  Against Self (Forrest of Suicides)
    •  Against God (burning sand, raining fire)
      •  Blasphemers (lying on ground)
      •  Usurers (crouching)
      •  Sodomites (wandering aimlessly)


     We also discussed Dante's use of number symbology. Dante bases much in the Comedy on the number three. First, there are three parts: the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, representing the Holy Trinity. Second, Dante writes in an invented a rhyme scheme based on threes called Terza Rima. And third, in each canto there is a basic formula of three things that Dante must always do: assess the environment, talk to sinners, and talk to Virgil. The formula serves as a teaching tool to allow the reader to see different perspectives and to learn about Hell at the same rate as he.





Word Count: 227




          "What I was once, alive, I still am dead! 

          Let Jupiter wear out his smith, from whom

          he seized in anger that sharp thunderbolt

          he hurled, to strike me down, my final day;" Canto XIV (51-54)


     This passage features the representative of the blasphemers, Capaneus, who died cursing his god "Jupiter". It's important because it shows that even if a Pagan blasphemes against another god, he will still end up in the Christian version of Hell.  The fact that Capaneus is still committing blasphemy in hell shows that the nature of the people in Hell stays the same.  They are ever committing the same sin and always will into eternity.  It is not the way to true happiness. 


          "Now you should know before we go on farther,

          they have not sinned.  But their great worth alone

          was not enough, for they did not know Baptism,

          which is the gateway to the faith you know,

          and if they came before the birth of Christ,

          they did not worship God the way one should;

          I myself am a member of this group.

          For this defect, and for no other guilt,

          we here are lost.  In this alone we suffer;

          cut off from hope, we live on in desire." Canto IV (33-42)


          Vigil is explaining to Dante about the layer of Hell he has been summoned to and why he has been summoned there.  The people in this first circle are Virtuous Pagans that are stuck in Hell longing for Paradise. An interesting thing about this circle of Hell is that even though the Virtuous Pagans missed out on the glory of Paradise, they still get to commune in a nice field, which is the Roman version of Paradise.  


          "Tell me, my teacher, tell me, O my master,"

          I began (wishing to have confirmed by him

          the teachings of unerring Christian doctrine),

          "did any ever leave here, through his merit

          or with another's help, and go to bliss?"

          And he, who understood my hidden question, 

          answered: "I was a novice in this place

          when I saw a might lord descend to us     

          who wore the sign of victory as his crown.          

          He too from us the shade of our first parent,

          of Abel, his good son, of Noah, too,

          and of obedient Moses, who made the laws;"  Canto IV (52-57)



        This passage is important because it ironically features a Christian, Dante, asking a Pagan, Virgil, about matters of the Christian faith. Virgil gives his best answer but shows his lack of understanding in God and Jesus when he calls the lord's crown a crown of victory (he mistakes it for the Roman crown of Laurel leaves) when it was put on his head to cause pain. Dante continues to ask questions and try to take in as much as possible while touring Hell.





Terza Rima- Dante's invented rhyme scheme used in the Comedy. Terza Rima uses the pattern ABA BCB CDC to show Dante's emphasis of the number three. Each stanza of the Comedy has 33 syllables, and each section has 33 cantos, which all relates back to the religious theme of the Holy Trinity.    


Holy Trinity - Three divine beings, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one being 

Comments (8)

Kat Clark said

at 11:46 am on Oct 7, 2009

Do you think it's ok that I defined the crime and punishment in bullets? I tried to do it in paragraph form but I easily got over 600 words before I even reached circle seven.

Aaron Peter said

at 12:48 am on Oct 8, 2009

Yes, considering these are notes about the lecture, I think doing the outline in a "note-like" form is okay.

Kat Clark said

at 1:44 am on Oct 8, 2009

Hey, I think we should probably feature passages from cantos 9-17.

Aaron Peter said

at 1:54 am on Oct 8, 2009

I thought about that, but in class we talked about the passages I included. I think these notes are supposed to go over what we did in class that day, so I think we should be fine.

Kat Clark said

at 1:59 am on Oct 8, 2009

Oh, ok, well then I apologize for deleting your passage. However the one I replaced it with is the only one I marked in cantos 9-17 and I think it has more importance. Also, if you want to elaborate more on the third passage I'd appreciate it, I've gotten lazy and need to sleep.

Kat Clark said

at 2:06 am on Oct 8, 2009

actually, elaborate on any passage if you want, not just the third.

Kat Clark said

at 1:32 pm on Oct 8, 2009

Who put the picture up? I want to hug them. Were highway maintenance planners in Dante's original map though? lol.

Brian Croxall said

at 5:01 pm on Oct 8, 2009

I'm glad to see you continuingto use the comment section of the wiki to help you work together to build these notes. And to be clear, Aaron is correct: you can pull passages from any section that we read in class that day. (In an ideal world, I suppose I would be in the section that I said to read for the day, but you guys know better by now that such a thing isn't very likely to happen.)

Your summary captures well most of what we did in class. I appreciate the connection that you've made in seeing that pattern of moving through the cantos as another instance of the number three. This isn't something that I had picked up on before. Still, I wish you had broken that out for a little bit more discussion. As far as the numbers go, you could also make it still more clear how every aspect of Dante's poem is intended to confess a faith in Christianity. I was surprised to not see a discussion of the pagans in the summary. You get to them in the passages, but you had enough space left in your summary that you could have broached the subject there as well.

You did a really good job with the passages you chose. I would have liked to see you point out the irony of Capaneus's punishment perhaps just a bit more.

Overall, this is good work.

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