Lecture 8 - Inferno XXVI, XXVII and XXVIII

Dante in Translation


The final cantos of Inferno are read with a view to the role of the tragic within Dante's Comedy. Using Dante's discussion of tragedy in the De vulgari eloquentia as a point of departure, Professor Mazzotta traces the disintegration of language that accompanies the pilgrim's descent into the pit of Hell, the zone of treachery, from the distorted speech of Nimrod in Inferno XXXI to the silence of Satan in Inferno XXXIV. The ultimate triumph of comedy over tragedy is dramatized by the pilgrim's ascent, by means of Lucifer, onto the shores of Mount Purgatory.