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The Inferno: Novel Summary: Canto 29

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Canto 29

Summary
Dante is so overwhelmed by the evil here that he just wants to stay and weep, but Virgil urges him on-they must finish their journey through Hell this day. Dante explains that he is lingering because he thinks he sees one of his kinsmen, but Virgil urges him to forget the man-he is here, and he is here justly, and he feels only anger at Dante (who explains that his kinsman is angry because his murder has not been avenged). Dante and Virgil go on to the Tenth (and last) Bolgia, which is full of people suffering from loathsome diseases such as leprosy and of the smell of rotting flesh. Here the counterfeiters, or falsifiers, of every kind suffer. Dante speaks to two Italians who were alchemists; they confess their systematic deception of those who believed they could turn other metals into gold because they knew so well how to counterfeit gold.
Analysis
For Dante to linger here would be to risk becoming part of the problem, if he accepted the hideous custom that created so much strife in Italy of private vengeance and endless feud. Think of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet. On a more universal level, to linger over evil and be devastated by it serves no purpose. As Virgil always urges Dante, see each sin for what it is and move on!
In the Tenth Bolgia is an image of a completely sick society, where people who think only of gain create imitations of reality in order to deceive, rather than creating anything real. One commentator has wondered what Dante would have thought of the advertising business.




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