Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer Reading: Inferno (canto 26)

Into the ninth crevasse of the Malebolge and one of the most highly praised episodes of Dante's Comedy. Here, dissemblers are consumed by fire. One flame contains Ulysses (AKA Odysseus), punished for his diabolical stratagem of the Trojan Horse. Or maybe it's his hubris: Ulysses relates how he urged his sailors beyond Gibraltar. Far to the south, he saw—not Hades, as Homer had it, but the tallest mountain on Earth. It's the Mount of Purgatory, which Dante is heading towards! Dante sees himself in the intrepid warrior, but unlike the dissembler, his exploration will confirm God's truths.

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