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by Dante Alighieri

Inferno Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes

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

Quote #10

Surely when she gave up the art of making
such creatures, Nature acted well indeed,
depriving Mars of instruments like these.
And if she still produces elephants
and whales, whoever sees with subtlety
holds her – for this – to be more just and prudent;
for where the mind’s acutest reasoning
is joined to evil will and evil power,
there human beings can’t defend themselves. (Inf. XXXI, 49-57)

By implying that "Nature acted well indeed" in refusing to give further birth to giants, Dante implies that the giants are sinners. They fall into the category between the eighth and ninth circles, between the realms of ordinary and treacherous fraud, both considered purely an intellectual sin and a denial of "the good of the intellect." Like Lucifer, the giants challenge God’s supremacy by connecting "the mind’s acutest reasoning" to "evil will and evil power." Thus, it comes as no surprise that their punishment – being immobilized deep in Hell – echoes and anticipates Lucifer’s penalty.

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