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Quotes

Quote #16

O reader, do not ask of me how I
grew faint and frozen then – I cannot write it:
all words would fall far short of what it was.
I did not die, and I was not alive;
think for yourself, if you have any wit,
what I became, deprived of life and death.
The emperor of the despondent kingdom
so towered from the ice, up from midchest,
that I match better with a giant’s breadth
than giants match the measure of his arms…(Inf. XXXIV, 22-31)

In Dante’s ostentatious attempt to show humility, he misrepresents his talent and deceives readers. First he claims that he "cannot write it," that he cannot possibly render Hell’s description with justice, but he then proceeds to do exactly what he professes he cannot: he describes Lucifer in great detail.

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