Fate of the Lustful in Canto V of Inferno Essay

Fate of the Lustful in Canto V of Inferno Essay

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As we all know, a first impression is a lasting one. As true as this statement may be, when reading between the lines of someone’s seemingly innocent story, they can turn out to be totally different people. In Canto 5 of Inferno, this exact phenomenon is portrayed. Canto 5 brings us to the second circle of Hell, the circle for the lustful souls, where we meet Francesca and Paolo.
These two sinners tell Dante a woeful tale of love and betrayal through their tears. Francesca, the woman who tells the story seems so pitiful and sad, not because of what she had done, but because she is in Hell. Francesca says that she is in hell unjustly because she loved the man she is now spinning in an eternal wind with. Dante believes her wholeheartedly and is sucked into her sob story. The readers other the other hand, know better.
Before telling exactly how she ending up in the Second Circle of Hell, Francesca says “Love that flames soonest in the gentle heart.. love which allows no loved one not to love seized me... love lead us to one death.” (Esolen, 5:100-106). By speaking of love this way, Francesca is falsely personifying an emotion. She claims love made her commit this sin of incontinence which, by definition, is the failure to restrain ones desires. Without looking beyond her words, there is an instant feeling of pity for the couple who seems to be incorrectly placed here. However, looking past her false images of love we know that love is not a seizing force; it is a feeling which Francesca is confusing lust with.
Francesca repeatedly speaks of love and how it is the reason of her death and suffering, then quickly switches to hate. She sends hatred to the man who ended her life. The sinner says “The realm of Cain waits for...


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...r to accept her sins. She continuously blames her actions on other. First love and now the author of the book is the reason her and Paolo sinned.
In Canto 33, Dante learns his lesson in regards to trusting the sinners as they tell their stories. Count Ugolino tells his story to Dante, and starts nearly the same way as Francesca had; he says “You’ll see me weeping, speaking through my tears.” (Esolen, 33:9). Ugolino tells Dante he is only a victim in his situation. Being one Canto away from the end of Inferno, Dante knows better than to pity Ugolino and remains unbiased. Dante can tell that Ugolino does belong where he has been placed.
In Inferno it is extremely important to look beneath the words sinners say to Dante. When sinners tell their stories, looking past their trickery is sometimes the only way to see their real sins and why their punishment is justified.

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