Canto XVII Notes from The Inferno

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The Inferno Canto XVII

The monster, Geryon, pulls himself onto the bank of the dark lake. He has the face of a man and the body of a reptile. As they approach him, he wields his tail like a scorpion. Virgil approaches the monster and tells Dante to pass on and view the tortures of the usurers alone, so as to better remember them. Dante approaches a crowd of souls crouching on the sand beyond Geryon. Dante sees them writhe attempting to escape the scorching sand and flames, but he does not recognize any of them. Each has a moneybag tied around his neck marked with a family's coat of arms. They gripe among themselves and urge Dante to leave them to their misery. He leaves without responding and finds Virgil has mounted the monster and expects him to do as well. "Greater fear there was not, I believe, when Phaeton let loose the reins, whereby the sky, as yet appears, was burnt; - nor when poor Icarus felt his loins unfeathering by the heating of the wax, his father crying to him, "An ill way thou goest!" Canto XVII, pg. 94 He does so with great trepidation and Geryon moves slowly out into the abyss and then down in slow circles. Like a weary, sullen falcon he fled away after the poets dismounted at the bottom of the whirlpool.

Topic Tracking: Literature/Mythology/Bible 7

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