Art analysis:William Blake painting:Dante

A great storm of putrefaction falls incessantly in this circle, a mixture of stinking snow and freezing rain, which forms into a vile slush underfoot. Everything about this level suggests a gigantic garbage dump. The souls of the Damned Lie in the icy paste, swollen and obscene.

Those guilty of the sin of lust are whirled round and round in an unending storm. The storm, of course represents irresistible passion (Hagstrum 1999). You can see in the storm mythic and historical queens such as Helen of Troy and Cleopatra of Egypt.

Dante, however, chooses to speak to Paolo and Fancesca, famous lovers from Rimini. Francesca had been married to the brave, but physically deformed Gianciotto. She was reading an Arthurian romance with his better looking brother, Paolo, when passion got the better of them. Gianciotto, enraged, murdered them both, for which he was consigned to the deepest level of Hell where Dante shall later meet him (Hagstrum 1999). Dante is so moved by his romantic tale that he faints, hence his position flat on his back (Praz 1933).

Notice that above Virgil's head a sun-like disc contains a sketch of a couple embracing, while the wind-blown lovers themselves se



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