Canto XIII Notes from The Inferno

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The Inferno Canto XIII

They immediately find themselves in a strange wood, which is the second round of the seventh circle and contains those who commit violence against themselves. "Not green the foliage, but of colour dusky; not smooth the branches, but gnarled and warped; apples none were there, but withered sticks with poison." Canto XIII, pg. 71 Harpies, part human, part winged-predator, roost in the branches of the trees. Virgil tells Dante that his thoughts will mutate if he breaks a branch from one of the trees, and Dante decides to test the statement. The cut tree bleeds and reproaches Dante. He is Pier delle Vigne, minister to Emperor Frederick II who committed suicide in prison after being suspected of treachery. He denies ever being unfaithful to the Emperor. He explains that those who commit suicide are thrown into the wood of the Seventh Circle and take root. There the Harpies tear at their leaves, giving them pain. At the end of time, they will regain their bodies, which will be dragged through the wood and hung in the branches of their correlate souls. The first soul is interrupted by the flight of two other tormented souls pursued by vicious hell-hounds. One is torn apart piece by piece, and the other takes root as a bush. The first is Jacomo da Sant' Andrea; the second is Lano. Both these men killed themselves violently. Lano identifies himself as a former resident of Florence.

Topic Tracking: Human Reason 7

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