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Inferno IX Claire Honess (University of Leeds). A new relationship between reader and poet... O voi chavete li ntelletti sani, mirate la dottrina che.

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Presentation on theme: "Inferno IX Claire Honess (University of Leeds). A new relationship between reader and poet... O voi chavete li ntelletti sani, mirate la dottrina che."— Presentation transcript:

1 Inferno IX Claire Honess (University of Leeds)

2 A new relationship between reader and poet... O voi chavete li ntelletti sani, mirate la dottrina che sasconde sotto l velame de li versi strani. Oh you who have sound intellects, consider the teaching that is hidden Behind the veil of these strange verses. (IX, 61-63)

3 Paradiso II, 1-6;10-13 O you, eager to hear more, who have followed in your little bark my ship that singing makes its way, turn back if you would see your shores again. Do not set forth upon the deep, for, losing sight of me, you would be lost. [...] You other few, who craned your necks in time to reach for angels bread, which gives us life on earth, yet never leaves us satisfied, you may indeed set out [...].

4 Non vi mettete in pelago... Do not set forth upon the deep...

5 Paradiso XVII, 130-32 Ché se la voce tua sarà molesta nel primo gusto, vital nodrimento lascerà poi, quando sarà digesto. For, if your voice is bitter at first taste, it will later furnish vital nourishment once it has been swallowed and digested.


7 Virgils parola tronca Pur a noi converrà vincer la punga, cominciò el, se non... Tal ne sofferse. Oh quanto tarda a me chaltri qui giunga! Yet we must win this fight, he began, or else... Such help was promised us. How long it seems to me till someone comes! (IX, 7-9)

8 Inferno II, 67-69 Or movi, e con la tua parola ornata e con ciò cha mestieri al suo campare, laiuta sì chi ne sia consolata. Set out, and with your polished words and whatever else is needed for his safety, go to his aid, that I may be consoled.

9 [...] con la tua parola ornata [...] with your polished words

10 Virgils previous descent to Dis In questo fondo de la trista conca discende mai alcun del primo grado, che sol per pena ha la speranza cionca? Does ever anyone from the first circle, where the only penalty is hope cut off, Descend so deep into this dismal pit? (IX, 16-18)

11 Purgatorio XXII, 67-69 Facesti come quei che va di notte, che porta il lume dietro e sé non giova, ma dopo sé fa le persone dotte. You were as one who goes by night, carrying the light behind him - it is no help to him, but instructs all those who follow.

12 Erichtho Haggard and loathly with age is the face of the witch; her awful countenance overcast with a hellish pallor and weighed down by uncombed locks, is never seen by the clear sky [...]. Unbar the gates of Elysium, summon Death himself, and force him to reveal to me which among us must be his prey. [...] She looped up her bristling locks with festoons of vipers. [...] I invoke the Furies, the horror of Hell, the punishments of the guilty, and Chaos, eager to blend countless worlds in ruins. (Lucan, Pharsalia, Book VI)

13 Inferno II, 13-15; 28-33 You tell of the father of Sylvius that he, still subject to corruption, went to the eternal world while in the flesh. [...] Later, the Chosen Vessel went there to bring back confirmation of our faith, the first step in our journey to salvation. But why should I go there? who allows it? I am not Aeneas, nor am I Paul. Neither I nor any think me fit for this.

14 The journey in miniature Quellè l più basso loco e l più oscuro, | e l più lontan dal ciel che tutto gira. That is the lowest place, the darkest | and furthest from the heaven that encircles all.

15 Guarda [...] le feroci Erine. See the fierce Erinyes.

16 Dante (Inferno IX): All at once, erect, had risen three hellish, blood-stained Furies: they had the limbs and shape of women, their waists encircled by green hydras. Thin serpents and horned snakes entwined, in place of hair, their savage brows. [...] Each rent her breast with her own nails. And with their palms they struck themselves, shrieking. Virgil (Aeneid VI): An iron tower also rose high into the air; and there sat Tisiphone, with bloody robe girt up, the never-sleeping guardian of the entrance-court by night and day. [...] High over them her left hand threatens them with hideous snakes, while she calls to her ferocious sisters to come in their hordes. Statius (Thebaid, I) A hundred horned snakes erect shaded her face. [...] Then both her hands are shaken in wrath, the one gleaming with a funeral torch, the other lashing the air with a live water-snake.

17 Beneath the veil (1) The Furies represent: wrath (circle 5)? heresy (circle 6)? wicked thoughts/words/deeds? Violence/Fraud/Treachery (divisions of Lower Hell)? conscience? remorse?

18 Beneath the veil (2) Medusa represents: heresy? paralysing fear? despair? stubborn adherence to sin? loss of hope of salvation? lust?

19 Simile (1) And now there came, over the turbid waves, a dreadful crashing sound that set both shores to trembling. It sounded like a mighty wind, made violent by waves of heat, that strikes the forest and with unchecked force shatters the branches, hurls them away, and, magnificent in its roiling cloud of dust, drives on, putting beast and shepherd to flight. (IX, 64-72)

20 Earthquake But Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit. At that, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked; the rocks were split. (Matthew 27. 50-51)


22 passava Stige con le piante asciutte The boat [...] was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night [Jesus] went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. (Matthew 14. 23-26)

23 Mercury Meanwhile the winged son of Maia returns from the cold shades, fulfilling the errand of great Jove; on every side sluggish clouds hinder his way and misty air enfolds him, no Zephyrs wafted his course, but the foul vapours of the silent world. On this side Styx encircling its nine regions, on that a barrier of fiery torrents encloses his path. Behind him follows old Laius trembling shade, still halting from his wound; for deeper than the hilt had his kinsmans impious swordthrust pierced into his life and sped the first blow of Avenging Wrath; yet on he goes, strengthening his steps with the healing wand. (Statius, Thebaid, II)

24 Arles





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