Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 5)

At the second circle, we meet Minos, Judge of the Damned. In an echo of confession, the dead recite their sins; Minos coils his tail to signal which ring of the Underworld they belong in. Descending past him, we come upon a vivid sight: the lustful—Cleopatra, Tristan, Dido—are tossed in the air by a black squall, cursing God (and not themselves). One, “Francesca”, floats down to describe her sin: she and her lover were inspired to adultery over an epic romance about Lancelot. She's a powerful character, easy to sympathize with. But note the ironic dangers of reading!

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