Divine Comedy Essay Questions

1737 WordsNov 5, 20137 Pages
1. Cantos XVI (terrace of wrath) and Canto XVII (Sloth) include important concepts about the corruption of the world, free will, the Emperor and the Pope. Canto XVII is the central Canto of Purgatory. It is the middle terrace where we read about the moral system of Purgatory (which is similar to Canto XI in Inf. when Virgil explains the moral structure of hell). What is the relationship between Mark the Lombard's conception of the human soul and Virgil's explanation of the origin of love? Both the conception of the soul and love originate with God. Marco Lombard explained, “From out of the hands of Him who fondly loves her before she comes to be, there issues forth, like a child at play in tears and laughter, the simple soul without a…show more content…
XVI, 94-96) 2. Canto XVIII. What is the distinction that is being made here between instinct and reason? Instinct is something we have no control over. It is an overpowering urge innate in all of us. Reason on the other hand is where we can use our minds and therefore have control. “So, even supposing every love enkindled within you rises from necessity, the power to restrain it still lies in you.” (Pur. XVIII, 70-72) What else do we learn about love and desire in this canto? We learn that love is the force that drives us to act. We know the difference between right and wrong, so we are held accountable for our actions. “Now that all other wills conform to this one, you have the innate power which gives counsel and which should guard the threshold of consent.” (Pur. XVIII, 61-63) Why have this discussion on the terrace of sloth? First, Dante and Virgil have just arrived to the terrace of sloth and the approaching night has made them stop. Dante wants Virgil to keep talking to him even though they can make no progress by foot because of the darkness. It is fitting to have this discussion here because “’The love of good which falls short of its duty is in this place restored. Here the idle oar is dipped once more.” (Pur. XVII, 85-87) The conversation is all about love and how it motivates us to act, but the slothful are too lazy to act on anything. It also shows us that Virgil and Dante
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