Francesca da Rimini
Francesca da Rimini is the first damned soul that Dante has a meaningful discussion with in the Inferno. Both Dante and Francesca have their own agendas that they attempt to convey to the readers, with varying success. Dante wants to convey to his readers the examples of Lust as seen in the second layer of Hell, where he places Francesca for the sin of adultery. By telling her tale to Dante, Francesca hopes to elicit pity from the readers and thus gain not only fame, but also a feeling of pity from the readers at her plight. Ultimately, Dante used this story to define clearly the Church’s definition of sins pertaining to Lust, and to showcase his emotions as they react to the tale told by Francesca.
Francesca da Rimini’s story portrayed a young woman duped into marrying a different man than she had anticipated, and the way she reacted to this duplicity. Francesca is placed into Hell by Dante, which would lead the reader to the natural conclusion that she had committed a sin, in this case a sin related to lust. Dante the poet and Dante the pilgrim contrast heavily in this section. Dante shows pity towards Francesca after hearing her story, an emotion which was scorned upon in the Middle Ages, especially in relation to the damned souls in Hell, which tells the reader about Dante’s state of mind while undertaking this journey. “…‘Francesca, your torments/make me weep for grief and pity,” (Citation). In comparison, Dante the poet chose to put Francesca in Hell, thereby telling the reader that she has committed a sin, and was not repentant. Francesca’s tale is also significant because the sin of adultery was motivated by love “…‘Oh,/how many sweet thoughts, what great desire,/have brought them to this woeful pass!’” (Citation). The reason Dante pays so much attention to this particular case is that the sin of passion, of lust, was motivated by love; and, the fact that Francesca was still placed in Hell shows Dante’s readers that love is not an...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document