Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Language in DanteÃ¢â¬â¢s Inferno Essay -- Divine Comedy Inferno Essays
Language in DanteÃ¢â¬â¢s Inferno What happens to language in hell? In DanteÃ¢â¬â¢s Inferno, the journeying pilgrim explores languageÃ¢â¬â¢s variations and nuances as he attempts to communicate with hellÃ¢â¬â¢s pitiable and sordid inhabitants, despite multiple language barriers and relentless cacophonies. Dante thematically unifies languageÃ¢â¬â¢s inconsistencies in hell; that is, he associates the pilgrimÃ¢â¬â¢s abortive attempts to communicate with particular shades, and the incomprehensible languages and sounds that beleaguer him, with a symbol from Christian mythology: the Tower of Babel. Dante juxtaposes this Christian myth with VirgilÃ¢â¬â¢s symbolic association with elevated speech in the Inferno. Virgil functions as the pilgrimÃ¢â¬â¢s guide and poetic inspiration, and despite his position in hell as a pagan, Virgil still transmits divinely-inspired language to his pupil. Thus, notwithstanding his amorphous physicality as a shade in hell, Virgil represents lucidity and focused thought, which comf orts the pilgrim and provides a reprieve from hellÃ¢â¬â¢s dissonant sounds. Ultimately, the pilgrimÃ¢â¬â¢s relationship to language is multifarious: it enables the pilgrim to connect with Virgil and discover his place in the tradition of famous poets through divinely-inspired and intimate speech; yet, it isolates and horrifies him when it is incomprehensible, amplifying his individual suffering; thus, ultimately drawing him closer to his understanding of the shadesÃ¢â¬â¢ own torture. VirgilÃ¢â¬â¢s enlightened language spawns partially from Beatrice, a divine inhabitant of heaven, who worries about the well-being of the pilgrim, and partially from his status in a long tradition of famous poets, beginning with Homer. Yet, despite VirgilÃ¢â¬â¢s association with enlightened and elevated ... ... His relationship to Virgil is enriched by their similar relationship to language as poets, and by the challenge of creating a poetic legacy on earth that counters the legacy of the tower of Babel in hell. Ultimately, the pilgrimÃ¢â¬â¢s desire reflects the reality of DanteÃ¢â¬â¢s own legacy, one that is immeasurably influential. Works Cited Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno. Vol 1. Trans. Robert M. Durling. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Barolini, Teodolinda. DanteÃ¢â¬â¢s Poets: Textuality and Truth in the Comedy. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984. Dronke, Peter. Dante and Medieval Latin Traditions. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986. Durling, Robert M., Ronald L. Martinez. Notes. The Inferno. Vol 1. By Dante Alighieri. Trans. Robert M. Durling. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Eco, Umberto. Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages. Trans. Hugh Bredin. New Haven, CT.: Yale UP, 1986.