4 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
    1. n st en . 1 d r watercourse out of the wood-a 5 en e :vhose redness makes me shudder stil

      "In silence we had reached a place where flowed a slender watercourse out of wood-- a stream whose redness makes me shudder still." (l. 76-78)

      The sight of the red stream prompts Dante to quiver with fear and disgust. Again, we encounter Dante encountering something repulsive and then explaining it with language equal to the reaction of seeing such a sight. As one who is leading us through hell with his words and his descriptions, the only thing he truly has is description of emotion and place. Likewise, this tercet also brings up the dichotomy between silence and sound. Even in silence, the impact of seeing the red stream is potent. Virgil even goes on to say: 'no thing has yet been witnessed by your eyes as notable as this red rivulet, which quenches every flame that burns above it."' (l. 88-89 p. 129) This is in actuality the most intensely visual scene Dante has encountered thus far, even his guide and master points this out. On another note, I've been imagining this third circle in the seventh circle: there is blood as water, there is wood surrounding the stream, and flames of fire that rain down on these people. These materials do not really work well together, in fact water and fire are opposites. Just thought I would point out this paradoxical materiality.

    1. now while the wind is silent, in this place.

      Just pointing out the contrast between the perception of the living and the perception of the dead: Dante's hearing was overwhelmed (line 30) but when Francesca and Paolo tell their story, the wind is silent in that place due to how long they've been there.

    2. I learned that those who undergo this tormentare damned because they sinned within the flesh,subjecting reason to the rule of lust.

      We often see the common paradigm of love and reason in literature. But here, we encounter lust and reason. This makes me question the relationship between love and lust. They seem to come in the same package but they can also be broken apart. There exists love without lust, and likewise, desire can also exist without feelings of love. Love without lust comes in the shape of familial relations or compassionate, friendly relations. But can love and lust ever find a point of separation when you love someone in the romantic sense of the word? Shouldn't one want to desire their lover?

      Of course, those questions are sort of frivolous in this moment, for we are in the context of the Catholic Church. We face the guidelines and expectations of the Catholic Church: that those who engage in sexual activity must be married to one another. So my questions feel rather outdated because we do have people that love one another and don't engage in a lot of physical activity: asexuality, for example. People of the asexual persuasion must be capable of feeling passionate love, but, they do not find the need to act on such lustful tendencies. Comparing, or rather, contrasting this notion, to our current day's understanding of lust/love, "the hookup culture," we find a culture that celebrates and accepts moments of lust between two unmarried partners. In the Inferno, Lustful people are not even given the capacity to rest and they've cursed so badly against the force of the divine that they've given themselves over to a persuasion that they must forever act out. Really intense.

    3. Now notes of desperation have begunto overtake my hearing; now I comewhere mighty lamentation beats against me.

      This is a moment where Dante's focus on human sensibility is illuminated. Conflicting feelings overwhelm him because he is hearing the cries of the Lustful. An action commonly considered beautiful and attractive transformed into something disgusting due to the setting, and the fact that these cries are not from a single person you love. Dante often uses human sensibility, or the lack of human perception in this case, to express a heightened sense of feeling. These "notes of desperation" began to overpower his hearing and he reaches the point in his journey that lamentation hurts. Lamentation is simply the expression of such grief. Dante often uses water imagery to express feelings of aggression or disgust, and in this case, it works quite well because the opposing winds one hears when a storm is taking place is like the sea being beat with opposing winds. He too indirectly expresses the opposition of being in the presence sexuality and simultaneously feeling disgust.