• 108
  • 8
  • 1
  • English 
Mar 20, 2019 05:26

As so far, the allusions are to Dante`s Inferno, without a specific determination of a specific canto. Proceeding backward, we find clues that the circle of Hell is exactly that one reserves to the sodomites; Buck indefinite utterance “a pleased button” (probably a reference to one of the before met librarians) is followed by another of his funny tunes “John Eaglinton, my jo, John / Why don`t you wed a wife?” which could be interpreted as a sarcastic allusion to the librarian sexual ambiguity. Besides that, there are also many allusions to clerics, schoolboys and academics, who are the great majority of the sinners present in this circle of Hell reserved to sodomites in the Comedy. Moreover, there is the most important clue, which is the direct mention of Brunetto Latini by Stephen Dedalus, at the beginning of this episode. He uses one word learned by Dante`s maestro to contrast John Eagliton`s imposing remarks.
Dante`s collocation of his own first educator in hell, in the circle of sodomites, arises a number of doubts and questions. In a time, where sodomy was a common sin among masters and disciples, there is no other source than Dante`s that refers to Brunetto as a sodomite. Furthermore in his Tesoretto, the writer explicitly condemns such a sin. Giovanni Boccaccio, one of the first commenter of the Comedy, awkwardly glosses about the sympathetic spirit with witch Dante recalls his encounter with his maestro, probably considering it as a sign that the pilgrim was guilty of the same kind of sin. But, this is not the only explanation of it.
Other more recent commenters, such as Webb, points out that, in Dante, homosexuality is not a sin that prevents men to reach Paradise and that special differences need to make in the attitude of the sinners to their own sin. She regards the abuse of power as the more important difference in matter of sins and the reasons that divides those who end in Purgatory from those who are sent in Hell. In other words, if Brunetto`s sin was excessive lust or a general sexual passive attitude, could have been punished differently; but, given that he forced others into it, he is deemed to Inferno. Naturally, the opposition to the divine laws and a death without genuine penitence, constitutes the point of non-return for his soul.
However, the nature of his sin remains controversial. According to Kay it was “intellectual in nature and political in content and had nothing to do with sodomy in a sexual sense”. Sins are usually described by Dante as “multiple psychological and spiritual layers and never restricted to a certain physical act”. Namely, it is not the physical act per se at stake, but the accusation of fraud and violence Dante implicitly made to his older friend only by putting in that circle. Many details of canto XV reveals that Dante is more focus on non-sexual aspects of his maestro`s sin.
In the conclusion of the canto, the poet describes Brunetto`s hasty departure as that one of a runner in a race competition hold in Verona at that time. Webb underlines the vane aspect of this circular race (the Hell is made by circles) and connects it to the futile request by Brunetto of remembering of his poetic work il Tesoretto. Despite suffering the eternal pain of Hell, his main interest seems to remain toward his worldly fame. This shows his vanity and limitless ambition.
Learn English, Spanish, and other languages for free with the HiNative app