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Dante’s Inferno Canto XXVIII Anna Sternberg Dante and Virgil come to the edge of the Ninth 8, see below a parade of of Discord Circle andBolgia 9: Sowers mutilated Bolgia souls Sowers of Discord- ripped apart what God had meant to be together (religion, politics, kin) punishment: a demon with a bloody sword rips their souls apart “the devil who butchers us and sends us marching/ waits to renew our wounds with his long sword/ when we have made the circuit of the pit;/ for by the time we stand again before him/ all the wounds he gave us The Ninth Bolgia “the language of our sense and memory/ lacks the vocabulary of such pain” (5-6) “if all these/ were gathered, and one showed his limbs run through,/ another his lopped off, that could not equal/ the mutilations of the ninth pit’s crew” (18-21) Sowers of Religious Discord Mahomet (Mohammed)- “split from his chin to the mouth with which man farts./ Between his legs all of his red guts hung/ with the heart, the lungs, the liver, the gall bladder,/ and the shriveled sac that passes shit to the bung.” (24-27) founder of Islam, died in 632 Ali- “his head cleft from the top-knot to the chin” (33) succeeded Mahomet as the Caliph (head Muslim civil and religious ruler) in 656 Dante sees them as the schism between Christianity and Mohammedanism (Islam)- intolerance of other religions Sowers of Religious Discord (cont.) Fra Dolcino- Mahomet predicts his death- “unless he longs to come and march with me/ he would do well to check his groceries” (57-58) took over the reformist order, Apostolic Brothers, who preached the community of property and of women Clement V declared them heretical and ordered a crusade against them brotherhood and women take an impenetrable position on a hill, but they run out of supplies Fra Dolcino and Margaret of Trent (his “Sister in Christ”) were burned at the stake Sowers of Political Discord Pier da Medicina- “he had his throat slit, and his nose/ slashed off as far as the eyebrows, and a wound/ where one of his ears had been” (64-66) turned the rulers of Romagna against themselves sends a warning to town leaders, Guido del Cassero and Angiolello da Carignano, of Fano Malatestino da Rimini will invite them to a conference at La Cattolica and have them thrown into dangerous currents in the sea so he can take Fano- “to satisfy a tyrant’s treachery” (81) Sowers of Political Discord (cont.) Curio- “with a bloody stump in his throat in place of the tongue/ which once had dared to speak so recklessly!” (101-102) Pompey banished him from Rome advised Caeser to cross the Rubicon (boundary between Gaul and the Roman Republic) this crossing = an invasion ➔ Roman Civil War Sowers of Political Discord (cont.) Mosca dei Lamberti- “with both arms hacked through” (103) Buondelmonte dei Buondelmonti insulted the honor of the Amidei by breaking off his engagement to a daughter of the line in favor of a daughter of the Donati Amidei met to discuss what to do- Mosca supported killing Buondelmonte Amidei take Mosca’s advice ➔ Buondelmonte’s murder ➔ bloody feud between Guelphs and Ghibellines of Florence Sower of Discord Between Kinsmen Bertrand de Born- “a body without a head, that moved along/ like all the others in that spew and spill./ It held the severed head by its own hair,/ swinging it like a lantern in its hand;/ and the head looked at us and wept in its despair./ It made itself a lamp of its own head,/ and they were two in one and one in two;/ ... And when it stood directly under us/ it raised the head at arm’s length toward our bridge/ the better to be heard” (119-129) set Prince Henry (“The Young King”) to mutiny against his father, King Henry II of England “as Achitophel set Absalom and David” (137)- David’s counselor deserted him to assist Absalom in rebellion Significance vulgar language Unlike the sinners of the Bolgias and Circles above, these sinners are eager to be remembered by those still alive. Virgil says that even though Dante is in Hell, “guilt does not drive/ his soul to torment,” implying that the sinners that suffer in Hell experience guilt for their sins (46-47).
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