| Quote #7
Not with the maze of words they used to snare
In revealing Dante's destiny, Cacciaguida does not cloak it in vague and mysterious metaphors, but speaks plainly, as Christ did. The implication is that language is essentially a good thing, used to convey truth, but that the enemies of God twist it to suit their sinister purposes.
| Quote #8
[Cacciaguida to Dante]: …"A conscience that is dark –
Interestingly, language is compared to food. Initially, Dante's words will be a hard pill to swallow and perhaps difficult to his listeners. After giving the words some thought, though, people will realize how true – if harsh – Dante's words are. They will then become "living nourishment." The comparison of words to food suggests that language is as essential to human life as food is.
| Quote #9
O godly Pegesea, you who give
The Latin words that the souls on Jupiter spell out (Diligite iustitiam, qui iudicatis terram) translate as "Love justice, you who judge the earth." This line is a reflection of Jupiter's reputation as a planet. Ancients believed that Jupiter (the Roman version of the Greek god Zeus) was the king of heaven, and thus the distributor of justice. This literal spelling out of justice is a foreshadowing of the souls Dante will meet here, all of whom are kings and rulers renowned for their just reigns. The fact that the spirits actually spell out their belief is a nod to the "letter of the law" – a stance that advocates interpreting the Bible strictly and literally, instead of loosely (which would adhere to the "spirit of the law" stance). Before seeing these letters spelled out, Dante invokes "godly Pegesea" – who are the Muses – to help him try to remember this incredible sight.