| Quote #4
[Cacciaguida]: "Such were the ancestors of those who now,
From this passage, one may infer that Dante considers the corruption of the Church to be one of the main causes of society's increasing degeneracy over the ages. Dante calls the corrupt clerics "dragonlike" to evoke remembrance of the very first evil, Lucifer, who is often represented by a dragon. Ever since the "Donation of Constantine," when the clerics first got their taste of money, human greed has become institutionalized in the Church, in the form of simony (the selling of pardons or Church positions).
| Quote #5
[Dante to Cacciaguida]: …"I clearly see, my father,
Dante is given the privilege of hearing his future foretold . But the way he reacts to the dire news is in line with how medieval artists thought of themselves. Dante will make sure that though he may lose his home, his poetry will help him gain immortality, even though material things will be gone.
| Quote #6
[St. Benedict]: "Up to that sphere, Jacob the patriarch
Only in the virtuous old days could a mortal see, as Jacob did, up the whole length of the golden ladder. In the corrupt modern world "no one…would lift his feet from earth / to climb that ladder." This seems to imply that everything man does leads to more corruption. Since nothing can be more perfect than God, everything man does leads to more corruption.