Free Will In The Inferno Canto V Danus Victis

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Free Will in the Inferno Cantos V & XXXIII and Purgatorio Cantos XVII & XVIII


Love and Free will in the Inferno Canto V (Francesca)

In the Inferno Canto V, the theme of free will is manifested through the topic of love. Francesca, being the first speaker and sinner in hell, first introduces love by showing her perceptions on the topic. “Love, that can quickly seize the gentle heart… Love, that releases no beloved from loving,” (Inf. 5.100-103) It is shown in this line how Dante perceives love and how it serves as a moving force that will be difficult to resist. It is seen in Francesca’s narration how she sees herself as a resistant victim of love and how love brought Paolo and her to hell. “Took hold of him because of the fair
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A very important concept relating to free will can be seen in Virgil’s discussion about mental love. Virgil first introduces the concept of natural and mental love. “The natural is always without error...or err through too much or too little vigor.” (Purg. 17. 94-96) Since natural love can never err, mental love always has that tendency to turn towards the wrong thing. This is where free will comes in. Mental love, unlike natural love, possesses free will. If mental love turned towards God or the First good first, it will not give in to evil. However, if mental love chooses to turn towards evil, then it is turning against God. “As long as it’s directed toward the First Good… those whom He made have worked against their Maker.” (Purg. 17. 97-102) However, to direct mental love towards the First good can never be easy, for mental love involves the free will, and man’s free will always has that tendency to turn towards evil than what is really…show more content…
Both Francesca and Ugolino’s judgements resulted from deliberation and thought, and both of their thoughts were greatly influenced by their oppressed state and some biological factors. They were diverted away from the First good, which made them turn toward the apparent goods. The use of free will in the Inferno served as a path to sin for both Francesca and Ugolino. Dante recognizes that Francesca had very weak control over her judgements, and that love overpowered her, but he also made it clear that she deserves to be in hell. As for Ugolino, he also used his free will to resist loving his sons. Francesca and Ugolino were affected by love and hatred & pride respectively. If both of them did not give in to their urges, then they would have ended up with different fates. The Inferno also shows that if a person exercises free will to err, then he/she can be brought to eternal
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