Hubris And Prudence


Dante wants two things: immortality in art and in heaven. But he realizes that he might not have the necessary ability to write his Commedia and still go to heaven. Despite his criticism of those figures who attempt the impossible, Dante may be one of them. He may be blasphemous, fraudulent, harmful, or simply wrong. He is contemptuous of those who dare exceed their limits because these characters prove ultimately destructive. Arachne hurts herself, Daedalus hurts his son, and Phaethon destroys much of the world. But Dante carefully distances himself from these figures. He hopes, and most likely believes, that his writing of the Commedia is divinely sanctioned. He stays within his limits. ...

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skill as a writer, not from a privileged birth. Arachne demonstrates her artistic ability when, in a competition with Minerva, she weaves a piece, which depicts the gods unfavorably. But in her piece, "not Pallas, nor Envy himself, could find a flaw."[2]As a punishment, Minerva turns Arachne into a spider. Arachne does three things to try to upstage the gods: she claims to be Minerva's equal by competing with her; she creates a piece which showed unscrupulous stories of the gods; and her finished product is like Minerva's: perfect. Like Arachne, Dante is trying to create a perfect piece of art: his Commedia. Is its very perfection an insult to God? Is its attempt at perfection an insult? In the Purgatorio Dante sees perfect art. The terrace of the prideful is made "of white marble and adorned with carvings / so accurate - not only Polycletus / but even Nature, there, would feel defeated."[3]By saying that nature would feel defeated, it is as though God's nature were in competition ...

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The readers may harm themselves because the great poet, Dante, gave them his poem. Dante is aware of the harm that people can cause when they manipulate words. Jason seduced women with his "polished words and love signs."[4]Fraudulent counselors led their people to death. And while the words of Guido da Montefeltro led to the deaths of hundreds of Christians, because of the cunning words of Boniface [5] Guido suffers in hell. What would prevent a counterfeiter and artist, like Capocchio, from perverting Dante's work? Dante must be especially careful not to abuse his powers or people might hurt themselves and others by corrupting the meaning of the Commedia.
Phaethon and Daedalus ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 6/19/2004 03:10:41 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1492
Pages: 6

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