Book Notes Canto XIV Notes from The Inferno

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The Inferno Canto XIV

Dante collects the scattered leaves of the bush, and returns them to his countryman before following Virgil to the third round of the Seventh Circle that is a vast plain of burning sand. There are three classes of sinners tortured on this plain: those who committed violence against God, blasphemers; those who committed violence against Nature, sodomites; and those who committed violence against Nature and Art, usurers. Those of the first category lie supine on the plain and suffer the most. Those of the second crouch, and those of the third pace back and forth incessantly at a speed proportionate to their guilt. The sands of the plain are heated by an eternal shower of fire. Capaneus, a blasphemous king who held Thebes in siege, lies on the plain still reviling God furiously. "Though Jove weary out his smith, from whom in anger he took the sharp bolt with which on my last day I was transfixed; and though he weary out the others, one by one, at the black forge in Mongibello, crying: 'Help, help, good Vulcan!' as he did at the strife of Phlegra; and hurl at me with all his might, yet should he not thereby have joyful vengeance." Canto XIV, pg. 77 Virigl comments that Capaneus' own unending anger is his punishment in itself. The poets leave him cursing and circle the burning sands on the edge of the wood. A rivulet of blood exits the wood and flows across the plain, which prompts Virgil to describe the origin of all the rivers in Hell. He says they flow out of a fissure in the body of a great Old Man standing on the island of Crete.

Topic Tracking: Literature/Mythology/Bible 6

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