| Quote #10
[Beatrice]: “…The fledgling bird
Dante is so ashamed by Beatrice’s ruthless accusations that he compares his degraded self to a “fledgling bird” who “must meet two or three blows before he learns.” He also compares himself to a sulky child who knows he’s done wrong and who “silently…acknowledges [his] fault.” Dante’s shame is so strong here that he cannot even think of himself as a human adult, instead representing himself as an animal and a child.
| Quote #11
[Beatrice]: “Your intellect’s asleep if it can’t see
In a final humiliating stab, Beatrice attributes Dante’s intellectual blindness to his pride. It’s his “asleep intellect” and “vain thoughts” that keep him from realizing why the Tree of Divine Justice is shaped so strangely. His pride so distracts him that Beatrice has to tell him the reason, but warns him to remember her words. Her reference to a “pilgrim” is a veiled reminder to Dante to be humble, for a pilgrim is by definition a subordinate to God and does not think too highly of his memory, for he always comes from his pilgrimage with a “staff […] wreathed with palm” to remind himself of where he’s been and of the lessons he’s learned.