| Quote #7
Those two [Virgil and Statius] were in the lead; I walked alone,
Here, Dante follows his two idols and soaks up their words concerning their (and his) craft. Again, listening to one’s elders, especially those known for their art, is exemplified as a method of learning.
| Quote #8
And as the fledgling stork will lift its wing
Dante compares his hesitancy to impinge on his teacher to a “fledgling stork [who]…wants to fly, but dares not leave the nest." However, Virgil encourages him to ask questions. Thus communication between teacher and student is presented as an essential part of learning. It is not surprising that Dante so espouses the Socratic method, for in medieval Europe it served as one of the standard learning tools and enjoyed widespread use at the university level.
| Quote #9
[Beatrice]: “…The fledgling bird
Shame, Beatrice implies, is useful in teaching lessons to children (or to unrepentant Christians), even though it is inherently painful and humiliating. The comparison of Dante to a child with his “eyes upon the ground” should remind readers of Marco Lombardo’s comparison of the desiring soul to a child – one who means well, but who simply cannot yet distinguish between good and evil.