Lecture 40 - infants but also of Old Testament figures...

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Sin and desire: the position of all the souls depends on whether love was placed, and by love desire is meant. There is a clear sense of the imminence of judgment, that all the souls in Hell are there because that’s what they desire to get and be. No one is pushing them there, they push themselves there. In Canto III the souls waiting to cross into Hell are described as “flinging themselves” into the river of Hell the way a falcon willingly goes back to the falconer. There is an image of the arrow pointed towards a target, there is an image of hungering and thirsting for that which one is satisfied after righteousness, for salvation. Limbo is the place for the virtuous heathen. Dante’s limbo is a limbo of unbaptized
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Unformatted text preview: infants but also of Old Testament figures waiting for the coming of Christ and they are taken up by Christ when he harrows Hell. For the whole of the Middle Ages, the Incarnation was very important. The Elysian Fields are the highest point where the righteous non-Christian dead reside. Behind Canto V is Aeneid II. The speech from Aeneas to Dido is what inflames her and makes her fall in love. Aeneid IV is for the readers, a story of love. Francesca echoes Dido. The third text is the Romance of the Rose among others. King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere is about the desirability of adultery. Canto V is a palinode. Desire in the Commedia is oral, through lust, wrath, gluttony....
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