But there is no instance of a single variant of the verb in the manuscript tradition. Thus, as things stand, there seems to be no optimal solution.
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Par quoi on se doit estudiier que raisons soit sor la concupiscence , en tel maniere que l'un et l'autre desirent de bien faire. The first two similes of the canto and see the third one, Inf. The first vast group of the 'ordinary' lovers T. Eliot's typist and house agent's clerk in the Waste Land , vv. For the Virgilian source, see Aeneid VI. The group in the second simile of the canto is more select, the 'stars' of lustful living.
Where the starlings are as though without individual identities, the 'masses' of the lustful, as it were, each of these has a particularity and a certain fame, and is thus worthy of being treated as exemplary. For a discussion of exemplary literature in the middle ages see Carlo Delcorno, Exemplum e letteratura tra medioevo e rinascimento Bologna: Il Mulino, , with special attention to Dante, pp. The evidence for such a view does not seem present in the text. For the cranes see Virgil, Aeneid X.
The rhyme words lai and guai suggest a relationship between the French tradition of love songs Padoan, comm. The cranes are imagined as singing their sad songs of love much as these sinners are presented as drawing sighs of love-sickness, their 'poetry,' as it were. This is the second important 'catalogue' that we find in Inferno. The first was the forty identified inhabitants of Limbo see the note to Inf. In the circle of lust we find these seven identified sinners and two more: Francesca and Paolo, who bring the total to nine.
As Curtius argued quite some time ago, given the importance for Dante of the number nine the 'number' of his beloved Beatrice , it seems likely that these nine souls who died for love are associated with her by opposition Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages , tr. It is also notable that Dante's catalogues are unlike and pronouncedly so in this case later humanist catalogues of the famous, which thrive on additions, in display of the most arrant 'erudition': the more the better seems to be the motto of such writers.
Dante, on the other hand, frequently sculpts his groupings to a purpose. One of the insistent poetic topoi that we find in medieval writers — and certainly in Dante — is that of translatio. This is the notion that certain ideas or institutions have their major manifestations in movement through historical time and space.
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The two most usually deployed examples of this topos are translatio imperii the movement of imperial greatness from Troy to Rome to 'new Rome' — wherever that may be in a given patriotic writer's imagination [in Dante's case the empireless Rome of his own day] and translatio studii the development of serious intellectual pursuit from its birth in Athens, to its rebirth in Rome, to its new home [Paris, according to some, in Dante's day].
It is perhaps useful to think of Dante's catalogues as reflecting a similar sense of history, of movement through time and space. In this one we have three triads: Semiramis, Dido, Cleopatra: lustful queens of the African coast; Helen, Achilles, Paris: Greek and Trojan lovers whose lusts brought down a kingdom; Tristan; Francesca, Paolo: a man caught up in destructive passion in King Mark's court in Cornwall, as we move into Europe and toward the present; and, finally, lovers from the recent past in Rimini, here in Italy. Semiramis was the legendary queen of Assyria Dante has confused the name of her capital, Babylon, for that of the Egyptian city, and thus misplaced her realm.
She was supposed to have legalized incest in order to carry out her sexual liaison with her son. Dante's use of periphrasis circumlocution represents one of his favored 'teaching techniques,' in which he generally, but certainly not always offers his readers fairly easy problems to solve.
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There is not, it seems reasonable to believe, a single commentator or student? The 'Dido' that we scribble in our margins stands out from the page, partly because it is we who have supplied the name. That Dido is the quintessential presence in this 'flock' is underlined by Inferno V. Dido's presence here frequently upsets readers who think that she ought to be found in canto XIII, since she committed suicide. It is clear that Dante thinks of the psychology of sin with a certain sophistication, isolating the impulse, the deeper motive, that drives our actions from the actions themselves.
In Dido's case this is her uncontrolled desire for Aeneas. She does not kill herself from despair as do the suicides in the thirteenth canto , but rather to give expression to her need for her lover — or so Dante would seem to have believed. Virgil's similar one-line description of Dido's 'infidelity' occurs at Aeneid IV. For Dante's knowledge that Cleopatra committed suicide by having an asp bite her, see Par. And see the note to Inferno V.
It is important to remember that Dante, Greekless, had not read Homer, who only became available in Latin translation much later in the fourteenth century. His Achilles is not the hero of the Iliad known to some of us, but the warrior-lover portrayed by Statius and others. For mille one thousand here and elsewhere in the poem see Baldelli, Dante e Francesca Ravenna: Longo, , p. The echo of the first line of the poem Inf.
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Dante was lost 'midway in the journey of our life' and, we will later learn, some of his most besetting problems arose from misplaced affection. He was, indeed, near death as a result of his transgressions. The repetition of the word smarrito to describe Dante's distraught condition also recalls the first tercet of the poem Inf. Here we can see an emerging pattern in his re-use of key words from previous contexts in order to enhance the significance of a current situation in the poem.
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See also Inferno II. Dante refers to the great figures of the olden days with strikingly anachronistic terms, the medieval 'ladies and knights' emphasizing the continuity of the historical record. No 'humanist' writer would be likely to use such a locution that so dramatically erases the gap between classical antiquity and the present age. Mazzoni claims that the canto is divided into two precise halves vv. It is surely true that the rest of the canto — its second half — is devoted mainly and essentially to Francesca.
To be 'light upon the wind' is, to some readers, a sign of Francesca's and Paolo's noble ability to triumph over their dismal surroundings; to others, it indicates that they are driven even more wildly than some other shades by the winds of passion. This first detail begins a series of challenging phrasings that invite the reader to consider closely the ambiguities of the entire episode. And for a thorough consideration of the history of interpretation of the episode of Francesca see A.
Quaglio, 'Francesca' ED. Virgil's only complete tercet in the second half of the canto see the note to Inf. The protagonist's adjective for the two sinners they are 'anime affannate ' may well be meant to remind us of the only other time we find that adjective in the first cantica , at Inferno I. If that is true, it further binds the character's sense of identity with these sinners. The third simile involving birds in this canto and there are only three similes in it compares the two lovers to doves. Dante's nest-seeking doves seem to reflect both Aeneid V.
The beginning of Francesca's highly rhetorical speech reflects the tradition of classical rhetoric that would have a speaker first seek to gain the sympathy of the audience, a device referred to as captatio benevolentiae , the capturing of the goodwill of one's auditors. For noteworthy earlier examples of captatio see Beatrice's first words to Virgil Inf. This canto has one of its 'key words' in amore , which occurs fully eleven times in it vv.
But this word, 'pity,' is crucial as well vv.
Dante is filled with pity for lost lovers. Should he be? That may be the central question facing a reader of Inferno V see further discussion, below, in the note to Inf. The three main editorial constructions of this contested phrase of Francesca are as follows: it reads either 1 si tace becomes silent ; or 2a ci tace grows quiet here ; or 2b ci tace grows quiet for our sake.
That is a sensible understanding, but either of the others might have been what Dante wrote. For the Italian text with an English translation of Boccaccio's Francesca-favoring narrative, in his Esposizioni , see Singleton, comm. The use of anaphora repetition here at the beginning of each tercet, 'Amor It seems also reasonable to believe that Francesca is here referring to her 'god,' the Lord of Love, Cupid, whose name is 'Amor.
This verse is much debated.
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See also the strong arguments of Chiavacci Leonardi Inferno, con il commento di A. As much as we may agree with this view of the matter, we must also acknowledge that the wording of the text allows, in itself, either interpretation. Our translation therefore leaves the meaning ambiguous, as does, indeed, the original, whatever Dante's intentions. Basing his argument in Italian and Latin texts [among the latter especially Andreas Capellanus's De amore ], Pertile demonstrates that modo [Latin modus ] frequently meant 'measure' when it referred to the immoderate nature of passionate love.
He summarizes his sense of the verse as follows: 'il modo, la misura, la forza dell'amore di Paolo ancora mi ferisce, mi affligge, mi soggioga' [the manner, or measure, or force of Paolo's love still wounds, or afflicts, or dominates me]. The dicta of Andreas Capellanus are often cited as lying behind Francesca's speech e.