Lecture 4 - Inferno V, VI, VII

author: Giuseppe Mazzotta, Department of Italian, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: May 7, 2010,   recorded: September 2008,   views: 2873
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

This lecture examines Inferno IV -VII. Dante's Limbo, modeled on the classical locus amoenus, is identified as a place of repose and vulnerability. Here, in fact, among the poets of antiquity, the pilgrim falls prey to poetic hubris by joining in their ranks. The pilgrim is faced with the consequences of his poetic vocation when he descends to the circle of lust (Inferno V), where Francesca da Rimini, in her failure to distinguish romance from reality, testifies to the dangers inherent to the act of reading. From the destructive power of lust within the private world of the court, Dante moves on to the effects of its sister sin, gluttony, on the public sphere of the city. The relationship posited in Inferno VI between Ciacco and his native Florence is read as a critique of the "body politic." In conclusion, Virgil's discourse on Fortune in the circle of avarice and prodigality (Inferno VII) is situated within the Christian world of divine providence.

Reading assignment:

Dante, Inferno: V, VI, VII

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