How Does Castelvetro Use Of The Simile To Venetian Shipbuilders

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In many ways, this extended simile to Venetian shipbuilders is easy to pass over. It seems to be a way of vividly describing the lake of tar that is used to punish barrators, corrupt politicians, in the fifth bolgia of the circle of fraud. In the notes on Canto XXI, Castelvetro simply says that the simile is used to describe the imagery of the pitch and that the rest of the simile is made up of “extraneous elements.” Trucchi points to the comparison between the “honest mercantilism” of the Venetians and the fraud employed by the barrators in this bolgia as being the purpose of the simile. Neither of these notes deals with the elements in the second and third triplet of the quote. While the notes included in this particular version are certainly…show more content…
That Dante recognized a well defined order for the deadly sins is evident in the geographical layout of Purgatorio; the seven sins are represented in purgatory as a system of terraces in order of the magnitude of the sin. The worse the sin the further away its practitioners would be from reaching the Garden of Eden. Thus, the sins from least severe to most is Lust, Gluttony, Avarice (and Prodigality), Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. Moreover, the placement of the number seven in the Divine Comedia which deals with heaven, hell and purgatory is more likely to be related to the seven deadly sins than other sets of seven in Christian literature such as creation in seven days or the seven sacraments. When it comes to the ship therefore, it makes sense to conclude that the object of the repair, for example a hole in the hull or a tear in a sail, represents a specific sin and the repair taking place, for example caulking, is the righting of this sin. Because caulking the ship is the most important of the repairs, this implies that holes in the hull of the ship are a symbol for the sin of pride. The caulking of these holes represents correcting the sin of pride. Thus, God seems to be boiling the pitch in the lake in order to right the sin of
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