Lecture 39 - The beasts are drawn from Augustine, and the...

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The beasts are drawn from Augustine, and the classical idea of converting is present. The pilgrim doesn’t start at zero but at minus one. He lacks something. He must go down to acknowledge that lack and traverse Hell to climb out. His lack is his mortal predisposition to sin. This journey includes the tired body of the pilgrim. It illustrates the idea of Paul, of seeing the good and knowing the good. The problems involve the will. The will almost always needs an erotic boost to act. To do something, you have to get something, and that something is usually with the body instead of the mind. Why Virgil? He is the author of Pax Romana. For Dante, Virgil is a Moses figure who did not live to see the promise fulfillment which was the Augustus peace. The pathos of the virtuous heathen is that he has to go into limbo, but he guides Dante through the whole Hell and Purgatory. In Canto I, there are two quotations “proud Ilium” and “low-lying Italy.” These are from the Aeneid. Low-lying is both physical and spiritual, in other words, humble.
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Lecture 39 - The beasts are drawn from Augustine, and the...

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