The Kindred (The Dante Chronicles Book 1)


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A ten year old girl reads a sign in the hall of her elementary school advertising a contest for Halloween stories. Two months later the teacher asked her to stay after class. Dante and Virgil depart from the four other poets and continue their journey. Although Dante implies that all virtuous non-Christians find themselves here, he later encounters two Cato of Utica and Statius in Purgatory and two Trajan and Ripheus in Heaven.

Dante and Virgil leave Limbo and enter the Second Circle — the first of the circles of Incontinence — where the punishments of Hell proper begin. It is described as "a part where no thing gleams". Minos sentences each soul to its torment by wrapping his tail around himself a corresponding number of times. Virgil rebukes Minos, and he and Dante continue on. In the second circle of Hell are those overcome by lust. These "carnal malefactors" [30] are condemned for allowing their appetites to sway their reason. These souls are buffeted back and forth by the terrible winds of a violent storm, without rest.

This symbolizes the power of lust to blow needlessly and aimlessly: The bright, voluptuous sin is now seen as it is — a howling darkness of helpless discomfort.

In this circle, Dante sees Semiramis , Dido , Cleopatra , Helen of Troy , Paris , Achilles , Tristan , and many others who were overcome by sexual love during their life. Dante comes across Francesca da Rimini , who married the deformed Giovanni Malatesta also known as "Gianciotto" for political purposes but fell in love with his younger brother Paolo Malatesta ; the two began to carry on an adulterous affair.

Sometime between and , Giovanni surprised them together in Francesca's bedroom and violently stabbed them both to death. Love led us to one death. Francesca further reports that she and Paolo yielded to their love when reading the story of the adultery between Lancelot and Guinevere in the Old French romance Lancelot du Lac. Francesca says, " Galeotto fu 'l libro e chi lo scrisse. John Ciardi renders line as "That book, and he who wrote it, was a pander. But to that second circle of sad hell, Where 'mid the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw Of rain and hail-stones, lovers need not tell Their sorrows.

Pale were the sweet lips I saw, Pale were the lips I kiss'd, and fair the form I floated with, about that melancholy storm.

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Canto VI In the third circle, the gluttonous wallow in a vile, putrid slush produced by a ceaseless, foul, icy rain — "a great storm of putrefaction" [39] — as punishment for subjecting their reason to a voracious appetite. Cerberus described as " il gran vermo ", literally "the great worm", line 22 , the monstrous three-headed beast of Hell, ravenously guards the gluttons lying in the freezing mire, mauling and flaying them with his claws as they howl like dogs.

Virgil obtains safe passage past the monster by filling its three mouths with mud. Sayers writes that "the surrender to sin which began with mutual indulgence leads by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence". In this circle, Dante converses with a Florentine contemporary identified as Ciacco , which means "hog". These events occurred in , prior to when the poem was written but in the future at Easter time of , the time in which the poem is set.

Although the two are often conflated, he is a distinct figure from Pluto Dis , the classical ruler of the underworld. Those whose attitude toward material goods deviated from the appropriate mean are punished in the fourth circle. They include the avaricious or miserly including many "clergymen, and popes and cardinals" , [44] who hoarded possessions, and the prodigal , who squandered them. The hoarders and spendthrifts joust , using as weapons great weights that they push with their chests:.

Relating this sin of incontinence to the two that preceded it lust and gluttony , Dorothy L. Sayers writes, "Mutual indulgence has already declined into selfish appetite; now, that appetite becomes aware of the incompatible and equally selfish appetites of other people. Indifference becomes mutual antagonism, imaged here by the antagonism between hoarding and squandering. In the swampy, stinking waters of the river Styx — the Fifth Circle — the actively wrathful fight each other viciously on the surface of the slime, while the sullen the passively wrathful lie beneath the water, withdrawn, "into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe".

Sayers writes, "the active hatreds rend and snarl at one another; at the bottom, the sullen hatreds lie gurgling, unable even to express themselves for the rage that chokes them". Little is known about Argenti, although Giovanni Boccaccio describes an incident in which he lost his temper; early commentators state that Argenti's brother seized some of Dante's property after his exile from Florence. When Dante responds "In weeping and in grieving, accursed spirit, may you long remain," [50] Virgil blesses him with words used to describe Christ himself Luke Literally, this reflects the fact that souls in Hell are eternally fixed in the state they have chosen, but allegorically, it reflects Dante's beginning awareness of his own sin.

In the distance, Dante perceives high towers that resemble fiery red mosques. Virgil informs him that they are approaching the City of Dis. Dis, itself surrounded by the Stygian marsh, contains Lower Hell within its walls.

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The walls of Dis are guarded by fallen angels. Virgil is unable to convince them to let Dante and him enter, and Dante is threatened by the Furies consisting of Alecto , Megaera , and Tisiphone and Medusa. Canto IX An angel sent from Heaven secures entry for the poets, opening the gate by touching it with a wand, and rebukes those who opposed Dante.

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Allegorically, this reveals the fact that the poem is beginning to deal with sins that philosophy and humanism cannot fully understand. Virgil also mentions to Dante how Erichtho sent him down to the lowest circle of Hell to bring back a spirit from there. Canto X In the sixth circle, heretics , such as Epicurus and his followers who say "the soul dies with the body" [53] are trapped in flaming tombs.

Dante holds discourse with a pair of Epicurian Florentines in one of the tombs: Farinata degli Uberti , a famous Ghibelline leader following the Battle of Montaperti in September , Farinata strongly protested the proposed destruction of Florence at the meeting of the victorious Ghibellines; he died in and was posthumously condemned for heresy in ; and Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti , a Guelph who was the father of Dante's friend and fellow poet, Guido Cavalcanti. The political affiliation of these two men allows for a further discussion of Florentine politics.

In response to a question from Dante about the "prophecy" he has received, Farinata explains that what the souls in Hell know of life on earth comes from seeing the future, not from any observation of the present. Consequently, when "the portal of the future has been shut", [54] it will no longer be possible for them to know anything. Farinata explains that also crammed within the tomb are Emperor Frederick II , commonly reputed to be an Epicurean, and Ottaviano degli Ubaldini , to whom Dante refers to as il Cardinale. In his explanation, Virgil refers to the Nicomachean Ethics and the Physics of Aristotle , with medieval interpretations.

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Virgil asserts that there are only two legitimate sources of wealth: Usury , to be punished in the next circle, is therefore an offence against both; it is a kind of blasphemy, since it is an act of violence against Art, which is the child of Nature, and Nature derives from God. Virgil then indicates the time through his unexplained awareness of the stars' positions. The "Wain", the Great Bear , now lies in the northwest over Caurus the northwest wind. The constellation Pisces the Fish is just appearing over the horizon: Canto I notes that the sun is in Aries, and since the twelve zodiac signs rise at two-hour intervals, it must now be about two hours prior to sunrise: Dante and Virgil descend a jumble of rocks that had once formed a cliff to reach the Seventh Circle from the Sixth Circle, having first to evade the Minotaur L'infamia di Creti , "the infamy of Crete ", line 12 ; at the sight of them, the Minotaur gnaws his flesh.

Virgil assures the monster that Dante is not its hated enemy, Theseus. This causes the Minotaur to charge them as Dante and Virgil swiftly enter the seventh circle. Virgil explains the presence of shattered stones around them: Ruins resulting from the same shock were previously seen at the beginning of Upper Hell the entrance of the Second Circle , Canto V.

Canto XV Protected by the powers of the boiling rivulet, Dante and Virgil progress across the burning plain. They pass a roving group of Sodomites, and Dante, to his surprise, recognizes Brunetto Latini. Dante addresses Brunetto with deep and sorrowful affection, "paying him the highest tribute offered to any sinner in the Inferno ", [66] thus refuting suggestions that Dante only placed his enemies in Hell.

Rusticucci blames his "savage wife" for his torments. The sinners ask for news of Florence, and Dante laments the current state of the city. At the top of the falls, at Virgil's order, Dante removes a cord from about his waist and Virgil drops it over the edge; as if in answer, a large, distorted shape swims up through the filthy air of the abyss.

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Dante goes alone to examine the Usurers: The coats of arms indicate that they came from prominent Florentine families; they indicate the presence of Catello di Rosso Gianfigliazzi , Ciappo Ubriachi , the Paduan Reginaldo degli Scrovegni who predicts that his fellow Paduan Vitaliano di Iacopo Vitaliani will join him here , and Giovanni di Buiamonte. Dante then rejoins Virgil and, both mounted atop Geryon's back, the two begin their descent from the great cliff in the Eighth Circle: Geryon, the winged monster who allows Dante and Virgil to descend a vast cliff to reach the Eighth Circle, was traditionally represented as a giant with three heads and three conjoined bodies.

Geryon is a "monster with the general shape of a wyvern but with the tail of a scorpion , hairy arms, a gaudily-marked reptilian body, and the face of a just and honest man". The Eighth Circle is a large funnel of stone shaped like an amphitheatre around which run a series of ten deep, narrow, concentric ditches or trenches called bolge singular: Within these ditches are punished those guilty of Simple Fraud.

From the foot of the Great Cliff to the Well which forms the neck of the funnel are large spurs of rock, like umbrella ribs or spokes, which serve as bridges over the ten ditches. Sayers writes that the Malebolge is, "the image of the City in corruption: Sexuality, ecclesiastical and civil office, language, ownership, counsel, authority, psychic influence, and material interdependence — all the media of the community's interchange are perverted and falsified". Canto XXII One of the grafters, an unidentified Navarrese identified by early commentators as Ciampolo is seized by the demons, and Virgil questions him.

The sinner speaks of his fellow grafters, Friar Gomita a corrupt friar in Gallura eventually hanged by Nino Visconti see Purg. He offers to lure some of his fellow sufferers into the hands of the demons, and when his plan is accepted he escapes back into the pitch. Alichino and Calcabrina start a brawl in mid-air and fall into the pitch themselves, and Barbariccia organizes a rescue party.

Dante and Virgil take advantage of the confusion to slip away. The centaur Cacus arrives to punish the wretch; he has a fire-breathing dragon on his shoulders and snakes covering his equine back. In Roman mythology, Cacus, the monstrous, fire-breathing son of Vulcan , was killed by Hercules for raiding the hero's cattle; in Aeneid VIII, —, Virgil did not describe him as a centaur.

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Dante then meets five noble thieves of Florence and observes their various transformations. Agnello Brunelleschi, in human form, is merged with the six-legged serpent that is Cianfa Donati. Puccio Sciancato remains unchanged for the time being. Consider well the seed that gave you birth: Dante replies with a tragic summary of the current state of the cities of Romagna. Guido then recounts his life: When the Colonna accepted the terms and left the castle, the Pope razed it to the ground and left them without a refuge.

Guido describes how St. Francis , founder of the Franciscan order, came to take his soul to Heaven, only to have a devil assert prior claim. Although Boniface had absolved Guido in advance for his evil advice, the devil points out the invalidity: Schicchi sinks his tusks into Capocchio's neck and drags him away like prey. Griffolino explains how Myrrha disguised herself to commit incest with her father King Cinyras , while Schicchi impersonated the dead Buoso Donati to dictate a will giving himself several profitable bequests.

He is punished by a loathsome dropsy -like disease, which gives him a bloated stomach , prevents him from moving, and an eternal, unbearable thirst. Master Adam points out two sinners of the fourth class, the Perjurers Falsifiers of Words. These are Potiphar's wife punished for her false accusation of Joseph , Gen.

Both suffer from a burning fever. Master Adam and Sinon exchange abuse, which Dante watches until he is rebuked by Virgil. As a result of his shame and repentance, Dante is forgiven by his guide. Sayers remarks that the descent through Malebolge "began with the sale of the sexual relationship, and went on to the sale of Church and State; now, the very money is itself corrupted, every affirmation has become perjury, and every identity a lie" [94] so that every aspect of social interaction has been progressively destroyed.

The classical and biblical Giants — who perhaps symbolize pride and other spiritual flaws lying behind acts of treachery [95] — stand perpetual guard inside the well-pit, their legs embedded in the banks of the Ninth Circle while their upper halves rise above the rim and can be visible from the Malebolge. Also here is the Giant Antaeus , who did not join in the rebellion against the Olympian Gods and therefore is not chained.

At Virgil's persuasion, Antaeus takes the Poets in his large palm and lowers them gently to the final level of Hell. Cocytus , the Ninth Circle of Hell. Trapped in the ice, each according to his guilt, are punished sinners guilty of treachery against those with whom they had special relationships.

The Kindred by Deborah Rae Cota

The lake of ice is divided into four concentric rings or "rounds" of traitors corresponding, in order of seriousness, to betrayal of family ties, betrayal of community ties, betrayal of guests, and betrayal of lords. This is in contrast to the popular image of Hell as fiery; as Ciardi writes, "The treacheries of these souls were denials of love which is God and of all human warmth.

Only the remorseless dead center of the ice will serve to express their natures. As they denied God's love, so are they furthest removed from the light and warmth of His Sun. As they denied all human ties, so are they bound only by the unyielding ice. In "the most pathetic and dramatic passage of the Inferno ", [98] Ugolino describes how he conspired with Ruggieri in to oust his nephew and take control over the Guelphs of Pisa.

However, as soon as Nino was gone, the Archbishop, sensing the Guelphs' weakened position, turned on Ugolino and imprisoned him with his sons and grandsons in the Torre dei Gualandi. In March , the Archbishop condemned the prisoners to death by starvation in the tower. In the very centre of Hell, condemned for committing the ultimate sin personal treachery against God , is the Devil , referred to by Virgil as Dis the Roman god of the underworld; the name "Dis" was often used for Pluto in antiquity, such as in Virgil's Aeneid.

The arch-traitor, Lucifer was once held by God to be fairest of the angels before his pride led him to rebel against God, resulting in his expulsion from Heaven. Lucifer is a giant, terrifying beast trapped waist-deep in the ice, fixed and suffering. He has three faces, each a different color: Sayers notes that Satan's three faces are thought by some to suggest his control over the three human races: