- 4 December 2020
As always in Dante’s Hell, but more sensationally because of their shape-changes, the sinners’ true punishment is that they never cease to be themselves. in so few hours, and he takes his staff Fu risposto: “Potete risalire su le macerie del ponte, l’unico rotto”.  The questions that Dante is here posing go to the heart of how humans conceive of self: if our shape changes, does our substance — our essence — change as well? in.  A discourse on shape-changing necessitates consideration of the shape that changes, i.e. 145 Tragge Marte vapor di Val di Magra I am set down so far because I robbed È qui l’occasione per sottolineare come Dante, che pure gareggia con rime impossibili e conia parole nuove, capace di una concretezza potente anche quando tratta di teologia (si confronti la visione di Dio nei versi 85-87 del XXXIII del Paradiso), non curi di evitare le ripetizioni di termini a brevissimo spazio, né l’iterazione del “che” in costruzioni relative di vari gradi. 130 E ’l peccator, che ’ntese, non s’infinse, 68 fossi de l’arco già che varca quivi; Direttore editoriale per molti anni in Roma, tiene conferenze e seminari di studi su Dante, sulla letteratura Italiana e sulla tecnica del verso.Con la nostra casa editrice ha pubblicato, nel 2013, il romanzo Le tentazioni di Frate Amore, già in seconda ristampa. At that point in the narrative there is no indication of any loving demonstration on Virgilio’s part toward Dante, or of any sweetness in his look; indeed, the meeting between the two poets is described in stiff and formal terms, as is their relationship throughout the early cantos of the Inferno. And now the nights draw near to half the day. 44 quand’ io fui sù, ch’i’ non potea più oltre, Among this cruel and depressing swarm, goes out again and gathers up new hope. 8 si leva, e guarda, e vede la campagna And yet, dolce was by no means an adjective used to describe the demeanor or deportment of the dignified Virgilio back in Inferno 1. 34 E se non fosse che da quel precinto Ambedue traditori scontano la colpa nello stesso luogo, ma la punizione non è uguale, Ruggeri oltre al tormento del gelo eterno ha quello che gli infligge la rabbia del suo nemico; Ugolino al dramma della dannazione si aggiunge l’ira e la sete inesausta di vendetta contro il suo nemico. Dante uses thievery much as he uses sodomy, as an opportunity for a discourse on Florence and its corrupted values. Dante may well have construed Ovid’s “forma” to possess its Aristotelian significance of “substance” or “essence”, as it does for Dante: when Beatrice says “Anzi è formale” in Paradiso 3.79, she is saying “Anzi è essenziale” (The Undivine Comedy, p. 17). As smoke in air or in the water foam. 23.146]), as Virgilio was at the end of Inferno 23, he becomes tender and affectionate, as he is by the time we reach the end of the simile of the villanello, in verses 20-21 of Inferno 24. away, and ask what sin has thrust him here; 110 ma sol d’incenso lagrime e d’amomo, We then climbed down the bridge, just at the end  Virgilio’s retroactive “piglio / dolce” is part of a subtle strategy of counterbalancing that dictates the moves in Dante’s Virgilio-narrative. Il canto si apre con il famosissimo endecasillabo “la bocca sollevò dal fiero pasto quel peccator forbendola a’capelli” una scena macabra, il Conte Ugolino che divora il cranio dell’Arcivescovo Ruggieri e si pulisce le labbra con i suoi capelli, raccapricciante, ma evidenzia tutta la drammaticità della situazione, in queste poche parole si può già delineare il profilo del Conte, un uomo consumato dalla rabbia, ma allo stesso tempo contrito dal dolore. In that part of the young year when the sun Or under quilt, one cometh not to fame. Il fatto, completamente nuovo, che in due si governasse la città, era stato fatto per sedare gli odi fra guelfi e ghibellini, essendo i due capi uno guelfo e uno ghibellino. And just as he who falls, and knows not how— could hardly make it up from spur to spur. 99 là dove ’l collo a le spalle s’annoda. 42 onde l’ultima pietra si scoscende. Pistoia first will strip herself of Blacks,  This information about Virgilio’s sweet demeanor toward the pilgrim constitutes an affectively charged moment in the ongoing Virgilio-narrative. 54 se col suo grave corpo non s’accascia. 85 Più non si vanti Libia con sua rena; could not see to the bottom through that dark; Barolini, Teodolinda. 86 ché se chelidri, iaculi e faree  While equivocal rhymes have the same appearance but differing substance, metamorphosis is a transformation in which the same substance takes on a different appearance: the same substance takes on a different shape. the last stone of the ruined bridge breaks off. Let it avail thee, if thou understand me.”, Then I uprose, showing myself provided 63 ed erto più assai che quel di pria. 147 e con tempesta impetüosa e agra. I peccatori sono qui puniti con atroci sofferenze, conficcati fino al collo nel ghiaccio scontano la pena eterna fino al giorno del giudizio; il contrappasso è un vortice di genialità e ingegno: come in vita hanno tramato contro il prossimo raggelando il loro animo privandolo del calore della carità, così all’inferno saranno raggelati nel ghiaccio cocito. For Dante, metamorphosis offers an opportunity to think as well about its counterpart, metousiosis, the Greek term that refers to a change of essence or inner reality. 35 più che da l’altro era la costa corta, 14 in poco d’ora, e prende suo vincastro, And with a melancholy shame was painted. 104 la polver si raccolse per sé stessa 20 lo duca a me si volse con quel piglio Inferno, Canto XXIII Aldo ... Essi stanno di traverso, per cui non è possibile evitarli. ); Nel frammento la vita (V ed. Saying: “To that one grapple afterwards, remembering them still drains my blood from me. Such vestige leaveth of himself on earth. 23 eletto seco riguardando prima 21 dolce ch’io vidi prima a piè del monte. 119 Oh potenza di Dio, quant’ è severa, My Master said; “for sitting upon down, 17 quand’ io li vidi sì turbar la fronte, https://digitaldante.columbia.edu/dante/divine-comedy/inferno/inferno-24/ Mule that I was, the bestial life pleased me In verse 24 Dante uses the term “ruina” as a descriptor of the ruined landscape created by that broken bridge: “riguardando prima / ben la ruina (first carefully examining the ruin [Inf. Therefore, get up; defeat your breathlessness yet then the plaster soothed the sore as quickly: for soon as we were on the broken bridge, This long simile will resolve into an installment of the Virgilio-narrative, since it turns out to be a rhetorically complex way to tell us that Virgilio has recovered from the anger that he feels after his demeaning dialogue with the hypocrites at the end of Inferno 23, and that he is once more sweet and affectionate to his charge. In the bolgia of thieves we find dynamic and ongoing metamorphoses that apparently have no beginning or ending.  Dante has here used metamorphosis to present a fundamental Christian mystery, death followed by resurrection. 6 ma poco dura a la sua penna tempra. 135 che quando fui de l’altra vita tolto. my guide turned back to me with that sweet manner As Capaneus says. Where it connects itself with the eighth bank,  Dante would have associated with Ovid the word “forma”, which he uses with metaphysical import as early as the sonnet Piangete, amanti (“forma vera” in verse 10), and which Ovid uses metaphysically in the extraordinary first verse of his epic: “In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas / corpora” (My mind is bent to tell of bodies changed into new forms). 79 Noi discendemmo il ponte da la testa the lengthy narrative sequence of the broken bridges: discussion of the disproportion between the sin of fraudulent thievery and the. until that vapor, vigorous, shall crack it’s not enough to have left them behind; 66 a parole formar disconvenevole.  The relation between the sin of theft and the contrapasso of this bolgia — consisting of various kinds of metamorphoses — may plausibly (but to my mind not compellingly) be based on the violation of the boundaries between individuals, boundaries that are violated by thieves. equipped with breath than I had been before: 139 e falsamente già fu apposto altrui. But since Malebolge 15 e fuor le pecorelle a pascer caccia. Without the hope of hole or heliotrope. . But unto me directed mind and face, Although this is not a story to which Dante ever refers, I find it very useful and propose it as a template that illuminates what it is that Dante finds in Ovid. For once a man of blood and wrath I saw him.”. 150 sì ch’ogne Bianco ne sarà feruto. The mystery of Resurrection is rendered in a perverted and hellish mirror-image of itself. 101 com’ el s’accese e arse, e cener tutto I contend, instead, that Dante saw great metaphysical profundity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and that Inferno 24 and 25 offer a profound and sophisticated reading of the great Latin poet. The sinner heard and did not try to feign  The word forma has an important story to tell in the Commedia, coming into its own in that most metaphysical canticle, Paradiso. Divina commedia, Canto 33 dell'Inferno: riassunto e commento. 61 Su per lo scoglio prendemmo la via, Therefore, in specifying that Virgilio’s “piglio / dolce” (where the enjambment puts dolce into relief) is first seen “a piè del monte”, Dante is retrospectively rewriting the original meeting of Inferno 1, instituting an affective tie which at the time was not there. 123 poco tempo è, in questa gola fiera. Nay, I sat down upon my first arrival. unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). suffered when taken from the other life. Let Libya boast no longer with her sand; La storia struggente che narra il Conte, viene a porsi come sfondo di tutto il canto, incorniciata come per la peste nel Decameron, dalla fame. 37 Ma perché Malebolge inver’ la porta if you have understood, now profit from it.”, Then I arose and showed myself far better 129 ch’io ’l vidi uomo di sangue e di crucci». As a technical term indicating the ruins incurred by the coming of Christ, ruina here underscores the lengthy narrative sequence of the broken bridges and the issue of Hell’s status, its fundamental impotence. 112 E qual è quel che cade, e non sa como, between them will be fierce, impetuous. Of serpents, and of such a monstrous kind, 36 non so di lui, ma io sarei ben vinto. 239-40). For aye it seems that he provides beforehand, is doing it,” he said. 142 apri li orecchi al mio annunzio, e odi. 200, 239). By contrast, they have to scramble up the other side arduously, engaged in a kind of mountain climbing as they grapple with the crags of the bolgia’s wall and the boulders that were strewn about when the bridges over the sixth bolgia collapsed. But try first if ’tis such that it will hold thee.”. 143 Pistoia in pria d’i Neri si dimagra; And then was manifest to me the Bolgia; And I beheld therein a terrible throng Seeing the world has changed its countenance Dante is here broaching the issue of metamorphosis through its converse. Dante è chiaro nel puntare il suo arco: metafore, paragoni, rimandi, analogie etc. Infatti, si lasciano scivolare lungo la parete rocciosa (“doccia”): Virgilio prende sulle braccia l’allievo e lo deposita a terra appena giunti nell’angusta sesta bolgia, dove quei padroni dell’inferno non possono giungere, in quanto Dio ha dato ad ogni gruppo di custodi un territorio preciso oltre il quale è loro vietato porre piede o ala. Tuttavia, qua e là Dante sembra afferrarci con un atto di intimità, rapido, attraverso particolari che ce lo rendono più umano e vicino: “Già mi sentia tutti arricciar li peli/ de la paura” (v. 19-20); “portandosene me sovra ‘l suo petto, /come suo figlio, non come compagno” (v. 50-51). and so we reached, at length, the jutting where that, as its vengeance, showers down such blows! Were able to ascend from jag to jag. Not well adapted to articulate words. We will eventually learn that the serpents are themselves sinners who have previously been changed to serpents. from climbing, I could not go on; in fact, Relazione critica XXXIII° Canto dell'Inferno. who’s always ready for the step ahead, This is accomplished rhetorically by the insinuation of affective language into the narrative at the moments of greatest intellective stress. then having picked the way we would ascend, 55 Più lunga scala convien che si saglia; 77 se non lo far; ché la dimanda onesta The suggestion put forward by Robert Hollander, whereby this bolgia recalls the “the ‘primal scene’ of thievery in Eden” (Hollander commentary, Inferno 24, at verses 91-96, accessed through http://dantelab.dartmouth.edu), certainly raises the status of the theft, as well as predicting the presence of serpents, but ultimately does not offer a sufficient hermeneutic lens for consideration of this bolgia. And—there!—a serpent sprang with force at one 87 produce, e cencri con anfisibena. much as he uses sodomy, as an opportunity for a discourse on Florence and its corrupted values, a complex of ideas about which Dante has been thinking for decades, going back at least to the phrase “forma vera” in verse 10 of the early sonnet, I first had seen along the mountain’s base”: “, dolce ch’io vidi prima a piè del monte” (, What is remarkable about this passage is not so much the tenderness of Virgilio’s regard per se as the author’s specification that he first saw such a “sweet look” at the foot of the mountain, i.e. 5 l’imagine di sua sorella bianca, In Inferno 24.20-21, Dante-poet effectively revises what he told us originally about Virgilio’s demeanor, rewriting the formal teacher/student relationship of Inferno 1 into the tender filial/parental dynamic that we saw in Inferno 23. the dust of him collected by itself (Dante’s Poets, pp. And just as he who ponders as he labors,  This infernal Resurrection is followed by a dialogue with the unhappily resurrected soul, who turns out to be Vanni Fucci of Pistoia. The “dear feet” are in fact an element in an affective crescendo that peaks with the “sweet look” of Inferno 24, and that begins with the simile in which Vergil is compared to the mother who rescues her son from a burning house, a simile that has the effect of neutralizing the event it is illustrating. 56 non basta da costoro esser partito. Antecede la narrazione della sua storia con una premessa, parlerà per il solo scopo di far conoscere la sua storia, e portare infamia all’arcivescovo. 102 convenne che cascando divenisse; 103 e poi che fu a terra sì distrutto, As though we might miss the connection to eating, the lesson continues (almost humorously) by making the point that the sweet fruit of this tree is such as to hurt the belly of the one who eats it:  Moreover, thievery in the treatment of Inferno 24-25 clearly has a civic dimension, given the apostrophes to Pistoia and Florence that frame the seventh bolgia and the Black Guelph Florentine families to which the thieves belong. into the human experience par excellence. of serpents so extravagant in form— its final winding sheets are nard and myrrh. the sacristy of its fair ornaments. 128 e domanda che colpa qua giù ’l pinse;  In the previous canti the narrator has greatly compromised Virgilio’s standing as “quel savio gentil che tutto seppe” (that gentle sage, who knew all [Inf. 41 noi pur venimmo al fine in su la punta Nei canti precedenti gli accostamenti e le metafore e i paragoni stessi erano presi dai bestiari nonché da conoscenze di prima mano; qua torna invece, costante, l’indicazione monastica, quasi che Dante fornisca al lettore una precisa chiave di lettura; infatti, il poeta prende di mira l’ipocrisia che domina nel clero.Ora, siccome i diavoli sono stati beffati e i due sono fuggiti, il pellegrino prega Virgilio di filarsela immediatamente prima della venuta degli irati agenti infernali. 24.21).  Through verse 64, Inferno 24 is devoted to the climb out of the sixth bolgia. As compared to Purgatorio 10, where art is assimilated to nature and becomes real, infallible, here nature is assimilated to art, becoming fallible, corruptible, subject to time. She breeds, with Cenchri and with Ammhisbaena.  The discourse on the body takes lexical form in the many body-parts named in this bolgia, for instance in the following tercet’s description of the sexualized bondage inflicted on the sinners by their serpent-comrades:  There is an unsettling sexualized component to the way in which the serpents “thrust their head and tail right through the loins” in order to bind the sinners into knots. The surprising presence of the centaur Cacus here, in the bolgia of fraudulent thieves, is glossed by way of the “normative” collocation of centaurs within Dante’s fiction: centaurs belong to the first ring of the circle of violence, the ring that houses those who were violent toward others, in both their persons and their possessions. in Inferno 1, where Dante tries to climb the colle and fails. Wherefrom the last stone breaks itself asunder. Speaking I went, not to appear exhausted; In analogous fashion, he uses the circle of lust not to connect to any of the timeworn moralistic formulae regarding lust that were in circulation but to tackle a complex of issues at the heart of his poem and of his life-long meditation: the issues of reading, authorship, reception, and — most cogently — responsibility and free will. who stood upon our shore, transfixing him 24.99]). who, when he rises, stares about him, all and nights grow shorter, equaling the days, when hoarfrost mimes the image of his white So that each Bianco shall thereby be smitten, And this I’ve said that it may give thee pain.”. saying: “That is the one you will grip next, Inferno Canto 33: riassunto e commento sulla vicenda del conte Ugolino e la legge del contrappasso (3 pagine formato doc). 51 qual fummo in aere e in acqua la schiuma. then Florence will renew her men and manners. “A just request In Purgatorio 32, where the primal scene in Eden is recreated by Dante in his Earthly Paradise, the griffin/Christ is congratulated precisely for not having plucked and eaten from this tree. 108 quando al cinquecentesimo anno appressa; 109 erba né biado in sua vita non pasce, only on drops of incense and amomum; the placement of each valley means it must. Already in the sonnet Piangete, amanti (Vita Nuova 8), Dante probes the issue of the “forma vera” (10), playing with the boundaries between “true form” and its converse, between animate and inanimate, between life and death. 114 o d’altra oppilazion che lega l’omo. Virgilio partì a grandi passi e Dante gli tenne dietro. : tutto converge sull’obiettivo monasteriale (più che monastico in sé); infatti, le campane che spiombano sulle anime, sono ampie come quelle dei benedettini di Cluny, in Borgogna “e gravi tanto, / che Federigo le mettea di paglia” (v. 65-66: iperbolico paragone alle cappe plumbee fatte indossare dall’imperatore a chi si era macchiato di lesa maestà: quelle terrestri, al confronto con le infernali, parevano, al peso, fatte di paglia).Ora c’è l’incontro coi peccatori, uno dei quali prega i pellegrini di rallentare il passo per stare alla pari con l’estrema lentezza del loro procedere sotto l’enorme pondo (per l’eternità!). 24.20-21). Still we arrived at length upon the point Their hands were tied behind by serpents; these begins to warm its locks beneath Aquarius or under covers cannot come to fame; and he who spends his life without renown But because Malebolge tow’rds the mouth It is a densely semiotic moment, in this respect akin to the Aesop’s Fable moment that opens the preceding canto, Inferno 23: Although this simile presents us with less sheer multivalence than the Aesop’s fable analogy, it begins to explore the implications of semiotic failure in a way that the earlier passage does not, by raising the larger issue of representation through its use of artistic/mimetic language. 138 ladro a la sagrestia d’i belli arredi. Sono le nove del mattino, sempre di sabato 9 aprile. 28 d’un ronchione, avvisava un’altra scheggia But little lasts the temper of her pen. from Tuscany into this savage maw. to this he answered: “Not long since, I rained  Dante’s goal is to have Virgilio “function as a paradox at the heart of the poem” (Dante’s Poets, pp. 113 per forza di demon ch’a terra il tira, His arms he opened, after some advisement 24.124]). If a centaur is found elsewhere than in the first ring of the seventh circle, there must be a good reason, namely the fraud that (so alliteratively) governed Cacus’ thievery: “per lo furto che frodolente fece” (Inf. 125 sì come a mul ch’i’ fui; son Vanni Fucci beast; and the den that suited me—Pistoia.”, And I to Virgil: “Tell him not to slip Rather, in a perversion of the biblical text, the dust rises over and over again. As he took fire, and burned; and ashes wholly Then Florence doth renew her men and manners; Mars draws a vapour up from Val di Magra, Moreover, this information is novel, since in it Dante-poet tells us that Virgilio’s demeanor was “sweet” when the pilgrim first met his guide, at the foot of the mountain in Inferno 1: “a piè del monte” (Inf. Il canto prosegue con le parole dolorose del Conte Ugolino, un linguaggio altissimo e umilissimo. There where the neck is knotted to the shoulders. That was no path for those with cloaks of lead, 71 non poteano ire al fondo per lo scuro; Dante insists on the primal violation as a form of transgressive eating, a form of incontinence, by locating grafts from the tree of Eden on his terrace of gluttony in Purgatory. The Pistoian thief insists on his bestial and non-human nature, while still alive: “Vita bestial mi piacque e non umana” (the bestial life pleased me, and not the human [Inf. Withouten which whoso his life consumes “Go on, for I am strong and confident.”. 111 e nardo e mirra son l’ultime fasce. Invece, furono manovrati da papa Clemente IV, per far rientrare in città i guelfi mandando in esilio gli Uberti.Ora la preoccupazione maggiore è il come uscire da quella gola. Dante here engages the dialectical principles of the double helix narrative structure that he is creating, whereby an affective narrative strand is interwoven with an intellective narrative strand. Dante viewed Ovid’s text as a metaphysical examination of identity, embodiment, and essence — all ideas at the heart of Christian religious thought. 88 né tante pestilenzie né sì ree That blows like these in vengeance poureth down ! open your ears to my announcement, hear: 50 cotal vestigio in terra di sé lascia, Letteratura italiana - Dante Alighieri — Riassunto e commento del Canto XXXIII dell'Inferno di Dante . .  Inferno 24 is the first of two canti that treat the seventh bolgia, home of the fraudulent thieves. The reference to Vergil’s “dear feet” — “care piante” — at this juncture represents an escalation in the tension of the Vergilian dialectic; although the great sage has been treated like a fool by a hypocrite in hell, his charge loves him not less, but more. the mist, and every White be struck by it. So too Ovid’s Metamorphoses come into their own in Paradiso; it is in the third canticle that Ovid supplants Vergil as the classical poet with whom Dante is most engaged. at this, a voice came from the ditch beyond— No o or i has ever been transcribed does the self that has undergone metamorphosis remain an immutable self? he slaps his thigh, turns back into the house, and here and there complains like some poor wretch 11 come ’l tapin che non sa che si faccia; 64 Parlando andava per non parer fievole; The breath within my lungs was so exhausted as soon as I had reached that stone, I sat. Dopo la battaglia di Benevento (1266), entrambi ressero Fiorenza.