Dantes Views Of Chivalry And Warfare - Cantos Xii And Xxviii


Throughout Dante Alighieri's Inferno, the warlike and the social concept behind chivalry is one of intense concern for this author from the Middle Ages. What makes Canto XII so important in terms of understanding Dante's feelings on chivalry and war is that the reader is seeing Dante's views on warfare not only from the perspective of an observer, but from the perspective of a participant. Later in the Inferno, Canto XXVIII proves to be very revealing as Dante directly attacks the views of chivalry and warfare that are held by Bertran de Born, a troubadour poet. The noble, glorious notions associated with chivalry and the Middle Ages were certainly pertinent to warfare in Dante's time, ...

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/ raced files of Centaurs who were armed with arrows, / as, in the world above, they used to hunt." [02]Their numbers are in the "thousands" (XII, 73 ), and it seems appropriate that Dante chooses the centaurs, a mixture of both man and horse, to represent a medieval army, for during chivalric wars of Medieval times "the man on horse, possessing both military and shock action, was clearly in command."[03]Immediately Dante establishes the framework for this canto as Virgil and he are themselves transformed onto a battlefield. Dante the poet has a personal stake in explaining the foolish irony inherent in the ideas of chivalry The beginning of this canto contains a distinctively emotional, and rather- personal quotation from Dante to the reader, "O blind cupidity and insane anger, / which goad us on so much in our short life, / then steep us in such grief eternally!" W X1E, 49-51 3. Dante lives during a very violent period in history, and maybe it is this chivalric love of warfare, ...

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Chiron would participate in so mindless and extravagant a thing as a chivalric war.
Intentionally stern in his judgement of the warlike centaurs who represent cavalrymen, Dante wishes to make a distinction between himself as a cavalry member and the Centaurs. The Centaurs are described as "agile beasts" (XII, 76), Chiron is described as having "jaws" ( XII, 78 ), and an "enormous mouth" ( XII, 79 ), and here Dante clearly wants us to look on these warriors as savages They are not warriors, they are beasts, however, Dante never totally defiles a warrior like Chiron, who didn't resist giving Dante and Virgil a "faithful escort" ( XII, 100 ) for the crossing of the Phlegethon. This ...

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Added: 10/29/2008 03:31:06 PM
Category: Biographies
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