Canto 6 of the Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri in the early 14th century, is the sixth part of the poet's journey through Hell. In this canto, Dante and his guide, the ancient Roman poet Virgil, encounter the punished souls of the Gluttons, who are forced to lie in a slush of cold, foul-smelling water.
The Gluttons are depicted as being consumed by their own vices, with their bodies swollen and disfigured from their excesses. They are also shown to be completely consumed by their own desires, with no ability or desire to do anything else.
As Dante and Virgil make their way through the circle of Gluttons, they encounter a number of famous historical figures, including the Roman emperor Nero and the Biblical figure of the prodigal son. Each of these figures serves as a cautionary tale, illustrating the dangers of overindulgence and the consequences of giving in to one's base desires.
One of the most memorable moments of Canto 6 is when Dante and Virgil come across the soul of Ciacco, a gluttonous Florentine who was known for his love of food and drink. Ciacco speaks to Dante of the impending political strife in Florence, foretelling the conflicts and divisions that would plague the city in the coming years.
Overall, Canto 6 of the Divine Comedy serves as a warning against the dangers of overindulgence and the importance of self-control. It also serves as a commentary on the political and social issues of the time, highlighting the consequences of allowing one's passions and desires to consume them.
Canto #6 Cover B Incentive Roberta Ingranata & Warnia Sahadewa Variant Cover
Ciacco says that he suffered from the sin of gluttony, as did all those in this circle of hell. That night, upon the rocks and bay, The midnight moonbeam slumbering lay, And poured its silver light, and pure, Through loophole, and through embrazure, Upon Tantallon's tower and hall; But chief where arched windows wide Illuminate the chapel's pride, The sober glances fall. Come and behold the' oppression of the nobles, And mark their injuries: and thou mayst see. Oh, think on faith and bliss! For the sin Of glutt'ny, damned vice, beneath this rain, E'en as thou see'st, I with fatigue am worn. Rather for the first time, but not the last, the focus is on what is about to happen in Florence.
Himself he swift on horseback threw, Scarce to the Abbot bade adieu; Far less would listen to his prayer, To leave behind the helpless Clare. He seemed as, from the tombs around Rising at Judgment-Day, Some giant Douglas may be found In all his old array; So pale his face, so huge his limb, So old his arms, his look so grim. But this statement raises the question of how these souls without bodies can nonetheless suffer physical torment. With fruitless labour, Clara bound, And strove to staunch the gushing wound: The monk with unavailing cares, Exhausted all the Church's prayers. A chance most wondrous did provide That I should be that baron's guide - I will not name his name! But to the pleasant world when thou return'st, Of me make mention, I entreat thee, there.
A sinful heart makes feeble hand. You, Blount and Eustace, are her guard, With ten picked archers of my train; With England if the day go hard, To Berwick speed amain. Why sits that champion of the dames Inactive on his steed, And sees, between him and his land, Between him and Tweed's southern strand, His host Lord Surrey lead? A stinking slush falls from the sky and collects on the ground where naked shades howl and roll in the mire. Virgil and Dante descend to the next circle of hell. And the Guide said to me: "He wakes no more This side the sound of the angelic trumpet; When shall approach the hostile Potentate, Each one shall find again his dismal tomb, Shall reassume his flesh and his own figure, Shall hear what through eternity re-echoes. Summary During his swoon, Dante has somehow been transported to the Third Circle, where cold, dirty rain mixed with hail and snow pours down forever, and the soil stinks.
But as they left the dark'ning heath, More desperate grew the strife of death. A ship without a pilot in great tempest! I said, Tantallon's dizzy steep Hung o'er the margin of the deep. Look how that beast to felness hath relaps'd From having lost correction of the spur, Since to the bridle thou hast set thine hand, O German Albert! Howl the rain maketh them like unto dogs; One side they make a shelter for the other; Oft turn themselves the wretched reprobates. Cerberus Virgil calms Cerberus. Ye citizens Were wont to name me Ciacco. He concludes his prophecy, and Dante asks where he can find certain good citizens of Florence. Yet in this deep suspicion rest thou not Contented unless she assure thee so, Who betwixt truth and mind infuses light.
Dante wants to know what effect reuniting with their bodies will have on their suffering, and Virgil explains that it will make it worse. My friend at length fell sick, and said, God would remove him soon: And, while upon his dying bed, He begged of me a boon - If e'er my deadliest enemy Beneath my brand should conquered lie, Even then my mercy should awake, And spare his life for Austin's sake. When, doffed his casque, he felt free air, Around 'gan Marmion wildly stare:- "Where's Harry Blount? Then afterwards behoves it this one fall Within three suns, and rise again the other By force of him who now is on the coast. Located across the street from a police station, Canto is a real neighborhood kind of place. Where's now their victor vaward wing, Where Huntly, and where Home? E'en such was I in that close-crowding throng; And turning so my face around to all, And promising, I 'scap'd from it with pains. He stops not; and each one, to whom his hand Is stretch'd, well knows he bids him stand aside; And thus he from the press defends himself. It was during this prosperous and successful time of his life that he chose to set his book, describing himself as beginning his escape from the Dark Wood by descending into Hell on Good Friday of 1300.
Overcome with pity, Dante faints again. O dotage blind and gross! Menials and friends and kinsmen fled From the degraded traitor's bed - He only held my burning head, And tended me for many a day, While wounds and fever held their sway But far more needful was his care, When sense returned to wake despair; For I did tear the closing wound, And dash me frantic on the ground, If e'er I heard the name of Clare. Many a time ere now The sons have for the sire's transgression wail'd; Nor let him trust the fond belief, that heav'n Will truck its armour for his lilied shield. Many a rude tower and rampart there Repelled the insult of the air, Which, when the tempest vexed the sky, Half breeze, half spray, came whistling by. And, for they were so lonely, Clare Would to these battlements repair, And muse upon her sorrows there, And list the sea-bird's cry; Or slow, like noontide ghost, would glide Along the dark grey bulwark's side, And ever on the heaving tide Look down with weary eye. Was it that, seared by sinful scorn, My heart could neither melt nor burn? Dante expresses his pity for Ciacco, then wants to know is what's going to happen in Florence. Athens and Lacedaemon, who of old Enacted laws, for civil arts renown'd, Made little progress in improving life Tow'rds thee, who usest such nice subtlety, That to the middle of November scarce Reaches the thread thou in October weav'st.
My castles are my king's alone, From turret to foundation-stone - The hand of Douglas is his own; And never shall in friendly grasp The hand of such as Marmion clasp. Redeem my pennon—charge again! Here, Ciacco is predicting events in the future, but occurred prior to the writing to the Inferno. But when thou art again in the sweet world, I pray thee to the mind of others bring me; No more I tell thee and no more I answer. Huge hail, and water sombre-hued, and snow, Athwart the tenebrous air pour down amain; Noisome the earth is, that receiveth this. Ciacco tells him that they are much further down in Hell because they committed crimes far worse than his, and that Dante will see them if he travels deeper into Hell. Volumed and fast, and rolling far, The cloud enveloped Scotland's war, As down the hill they broke; Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone, Announced their march; their tread alone At times one warning trumpet blown, At times a stifled hum, Told England, from his mountain-throne King James did rushing come.
What after that it wrought, When from Ravenna it came forth, and leap'd The Rubicon, was of so bold a flight, That tongue nor pen may follow it. Dante and Virgil pass into a dark place in which torrential rains fall ceaselessly and gales of wind tear through the air. Dante reflects that, despite this warm brotherhood between fellow Italians, Italy is splintered by bitter infighting, and there is no one to take leadership. There all the night they spent in prayer, And at the dawn of morning, there She met her kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare. Nought doth he now but aggravate thy shame. Ere thou art up there, thou shalt see return Him, who now hides himself behind the hill, So that thou dost not interrupt his rays. This simile compares Cerberus to a typical dog and Virgil to a dog's master, painting a picture of Virgil handling this monster just as calmly as a typical dog owner might settle down his pet.
And judge how Clara changed her hue, While fastening to her lover's side A friend, which, though in danger tried, He once had found untrue! One of the souls is named Ciacco, whom Dante asks about the future of Florence. One soul sits up and speaks to them, claiming that Dante knows him. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments or would like any additional information. Or does some other fate await them? It might have seemed his passing ghost, For every youthful grace was lost; And joy unwonted, and surprise, Gave their strange wildness to his eyes. It shall a long space hold aloof Its forehead, keeping under heavy weight The other oppress'd, indignant at the load, And grieving sore. The cry they heard, its meaning knew, Could plain their distant comrades view: Sadly to Blount did Eustace say, "Unworthy office here to stay! In vain for Constance is your zeal; She—died at Holy Isle.
This subdues Cerberus, allowing Dante and Virgil to pass by the suffering souls lying on the ground. And if thou mind thee well, and see the light, Thou shalt behold thyself like a sick woman, Who cannot find repose upon her down, But by her tossing wardeth off her pain. Dragged from among the horses' feet, With dinted shield and helmet beat, The falcon-crest and plumage gone, Can that be haughty Marmion? I heard the sheriff Sholto say, The earl did much the master pray To use him on the battle-day; But he preferred"—"Nay, Henry, cease Thou sworn horse-courser, hold thy peace. Fame of my fate made various sound, That death in pilgrimage I found, That I had perished of my wound - None cared which tale was true: And living eye could never guess De Wilton in his palmer's dress; For now that sable slough is shed, And trimmed my shaggy beard and head, I scarcely know me in the glass. For the sin Of glutt'ny, damned vice, beneath this rain, E'en as thou see'st, I with fatigue am worn; Nor I sole spirit in this woe: all these Have by like crime incurr'd like punishment. As this quote demonstrates, Cerberus is not only terrifying but tortures the spirits by biting them and tearing their limbs from their bodies.