Canto Xx of Dante's Inferno

1074 WordsFeb 17, 20135 Pages
An Analysis of The Souls Damned in Canto XX from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno Introduction Virgil and Dante find themselves in Circle Eight, Bolgia Four. The damned in this circle are all diviners and soothsayers, viewed by Dante as practitioners of impious and unlawful arts who attempt to avert God’s designs by their predictions. Virgil implies that those who do prophesy believe that God Himself is “passive” in the face of their attempts to foresee, and possibly change, the future. For such impiety, those who have tried to look forward now have their heads turned backward on their bodies. Among these damned are Amphiareus, Tiresias, Aruns, Manto, Eurypylus, Michael Scott, Guido Bonatti, and Asdente. Body Dante takes a step backward in…show more content…
Conclusion During Dante’s time, fortune telling and sorcery is prevalent in Italy. Diviners and soothsayers are found in different works of literature such as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Medieval people from all walks of life- a shoemaker, astrologer, scientist, military adviser and kings believe in the craft of fortune telling and follow what the soothsayers said even if it means putting people into exile and not attending a war. Canto XX mentioned one of the 7 kings who fought against Thebes, a blind soothsayer from Greek Mythology, a soothsayer from Etruia, a sorceress, an irish scholar who dealt with the occult, a court astrologer and a military adviser- all of them reflected the practice of the forbidden arts before and during Dante’s time and until now it is still widely accepted and promoted by people. There are horoscope sections in the newspaper and magazines, false prophets and fortune tellers are found everywhere in the archipelago. It is ironic that there are dozens of fortune tellers in front of the Quaipo Church when it is supposed to be a house of God and place of worship, not a place of sin. In keeping with Dante's theme of Divine Retribution, the Fortune Tellers and Diviners have their heads on backwards, their tears ran down their backs, and down the between the cleft of their buttocks . These are the souls who, on Earth, tried to see too far ahead of them, and thus will spend eternity forever looking behind
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