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by Dante Alighieri

Inferno Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Canto.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation.

Quote #10

At this I turned and saw in front of me,
beneath my feet, a lake that, frozen fast,
had lost the look of water and seemed glass.
The Danube where it flows in Austria,
the Don beneath its frozen sky, have never
made for their course so thick a veil in winter
as there was here; for had Mount Tambernic
or Pietrapana’s mountain crashed upon it,
not even at the edge would it have creaked. (Inf. XXXII, 22-30)

Ice, as an immobilizing agent, literally freezes time for the sinners submerged in it. Because they cannot move and cannot relieve their constant suffering, the ice literally represents eternity for them – cold, unmoving, and unforgiving.

Quote #11

[Virgil]: "Here it is morning when it’s evening there;
and he whose hair has served us as a ladder
is still fixed, even as he was before." (Inf. XXXIV, 118-120)

According to translator Mandelbaum’s notes, the journey through Hell takes a full day. When the sun sets in the northern hemisphere (as the pilgrims cross the earth’s axis), it rises in the southern hemisphere, where Dante and Virgil emerge. So just as Dante begins his journey at dawn, so he ends it in the light of another dawn on the other side of the world. In a dreamlike manner, it seems as though no time at all has passed.

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