Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Purgatorio 16: Marco Lombardo

Giotto: Wrath

Dante interlaces several heterogeneous elements in this canto, not all of them in any obvious way linked to wrath. To name only a few:
  • The intense darkness of the fummo, the acrid smoke that envelopes the entire canto;
  • The theme of free will introduced by Marco Lombardo in response to Dante's questioning of the origin of evil;
  • The free are subject to a higher nature that creates the human mind;
  • Multiple metaphors of knots tied and loosed;
  • The joy of the creator;
  • The innocent new soul, that "knows nothing" -- sa nulla -- other than what pleases;
  • The necessity for a guide, law;
  • The Two Suns of Pope and Emperor - the relation of religion and state;
  • The three men through whose nobility "the old times reprove the new"
Any thoughts about why these ingredients -- some of them major themes -- come into play in this canto of wrath?

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