Essay on A Critique of Lines 46-57 of Dante's Inferno

Essay on A Critique of Lines 46-57 of Dante's Inferno

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The ‘Up on your feet’ passage is a famous excerpt from Dante’s Inferno. It is quite inspirational, for good purpose; the passage is half directed at Dante the pilgrim, and half at Dante the poet (his self). He needed just as much inspiration to finish writing the dang thing as his fictional self needed inspiration to make it through hell. That is where Virgil’s brief monologue comes in. Through his words, he is able to hype Dante up enough to want to finish writing Inferno, and make it through hell. But what does he say that is so inspirational? How does this passage fit in with the rest of the poem? The ‘Up on your feet’ passage can be broken into three parts, each with its own individual meaning. The three parts of the ‘Up on your feet’ passage in Dante’s Inferno relate to the rest of the poem because they address how far Dante has already come, his immediate future, and the rest of his journey.
Initially, the first part of the ‘Up on your feet’ passage relates to the rest of the poem because it discusses how far Dante has already come. In lines 46-51, it is clear that Dante means for Virgil to be reminding Dante the pilgrim of what he has accomplished already, as well as warning him of the consequences resulting from inaction. “Up on your feet! This is no time to tire! The man who lies asleep will never waken fame, and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream and the traces of his memory fade from time like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream. (Lines 46-51)” Virgil means to say that if Dante passes up on this opportunity, he will not get another chance, and he will be forgotten. So why stop? Essentially, Virgil tells Dante that since he has already made it through the Forest of Error, the first seven circles of ...

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...s so dang close to getting out of there! So here, Virgil is telling Dante that he needs to chipper up, because there is more work to do. He might as well make this journey worthwhile.
Clearly, this is a pretty profound passage in Dante’s Inferno. It has meaning beyond the literal sense, and encourages Dante to finish his tour through the Inferno. In one sense, Virgil is chiding Dante for wanting to call it quits when he has come so far. In another sense, Virgil convinces Dante to get up and continue because he is so close to finishing. In a last sense, Virgil is hinting that Dante has a long way to go, and stopping here won’t benefit him at all. Underneath all that, Dante the poet wrote that as a little bit of self-motivation to get the drive to finish the Inferno. So, any way you look at it, the ‘Up on your feet’ passage is crucial to the rest of Dante’s Inferno.

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