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Seeing Double How is Ugolinos tale in Chapter 33 of Inferno related to the circle he belongs to? Trompe loeil in French translates to trick the eye which refers to a painting technique of creating an illusion of three-dimensionality in paintings (Microsoft Encarta, 2007). At first glance, the audience is fooled regarding the form of the artwork. In modern times, this concept applies to optical illusions and ambiguous images. What a person sees in these works of art greatly depends on how he or she looks at it. Similarly, the story of Ugolino in Inferno 33 distracts the readers from the reality of his being a traitor. Somehow, Ugolinos story is like a visual effect wherein upon first reading it tricks the mind into a one-track way of understanding his story and his sin. For example, the reader might feel sorry for the fate of Ugolino and his sons thus thinking that Ruggieri be the real villain. However, taking a second glance or rather an examination would result to a different view unveiling the hidden picture. Most of the stories related by the suffering souls in Inferno are connected to the sins they have committed. For instance, Paolo and Francescas story in Inferno 5 exemplifies the connection between their tale and their sin. Francescas tale of how she and Paolo committed adultery one day through reading a book clearly depicts their sin of lust. Nonetheless, not all stories given by the characters in Inferno are explicitly connected to their sin. One of these is Ugolinos narrative which does not seem to be related to his sin of being a traitor to his homeland. Despite the account being ambiguous, a close examination of Ugolinos tale illuminates his actual sin of betrayal. Triggered by their pride, the souls in Inferno keep justifying their sins. The souls would keep on justifying themselves whenever they speak thus making some of their stories ambiguous.

Salcedo 2 [Type the document title]

For example, in Ulysses narration to Dante the wayfarer, he talked about his voyage towards Mt. Purgatory making it unclear why he belongs to the circle of fraudulent counselors and being punished because of his dishonesty. Nonetheless, there are hints in the passage that reflects his sin. For example, Ulysses uses his eloquence to convince his crew that they are great men who should reach Purgatorio by themselves (Inf. 26.121-123). In the same way, Ugolinos story is ambiguous since he tries to excuse himself from his sin and puts the blame on somebody else Ruggieri. In his narration, Ugolino recounts how his death and the deaths of his children were made by Archbishop Ruggieri. He tells Dante that the Archbishop tricked and killed him (Inf. 33.1618). Ugolino was locked inside a tower together with his sons as ordered by Ruggieri, In the tower, he had a dream wherein Archbishop Ruggieri turns up as lord and master of a hunt together with his hounds pursuing a wolf and its offspring. After a while, the worn wolf and pups were attacked by the hounds (Inf. 33.28-36). Of course, the wolves here stand for Ugolino and his sons (Mandelbaum, p.391). This dream of Ugolino foreshadows their death at the hands of Archbishop Ruggieri. His dream suggests how a person placed in such a grim situation could not avoid letting fear sink in. Thinking about negative consequences cannot be helped. This makes one paranoid to the point that even in his sleep, the things that symbolize ones innermost self is present in dreams. In this dream, Ugolino somehow unconsciously depicts himself as a wolf which suggests a selfish and evil individual. Though hes sinful too, Ugolino makes it a point to let Dante know just how all the more corrupt Ruggieris nature is. Before sharing his story to Dante, he mentions that it causes him pain to retell his story even if he were only to reflect on it. He is more than willing to speak if

Salcedo 3 [Type the document title]

telling his story would defame Ruggieri (Inf. 33.4-9). Gnawing on the Archbishops head, further shows Ugolinos hatred toward his enemy (Inf 33.1-3). Even in hell, Ugolino clearly desires for revenge. In a way, through defaming Archbishop Ruggieri, Ugolino points his finger at him for being the reason why he is in hell. But one could see that it is because of Ugolinos own actions, why hes suffering at the lowest circle of hell for being a traitor. As seen in Inferno 33, Ugolino fails as a real father, which is to be a good provider and protector for his sons. Upon hearing the nailing of the door in the tower, he already knew they were fated to die. However, Ugolino just looked at his sons silently, did not shed tears and just let himself turn to stone (Inf. 33. 43-49). He was apathetic in facing their situation and did not live up to the expectations of being a true father. As his sons wept and when even one of his sons asked what was wrong with him he still refused to weep or even speak to them (Inf. 33.50-53). Rather than being the one to comfort his sons since he is after all their father, the roles were reversed. His sons were the one that comforted him by saying that it would be far less painful for us if you ate of us (Inf. 33.60-61). Ugolino is adamant on hardening his heart even though he already sees his sons in great despair. He could help them if that is what he truly wanted but he refused to feel pity for his children. His only minimum means to ease his grief is by biting both his hands (Inf. 33. 58). Through that action, he escapes from his responsibility as a father. Definitely, times of crisis in a family show what the true character of a person is. In Ugolinos situation, he created no way to ease his sons grief that can be interpreted as betraying them. Overlooking ones responsibility can be deduced as betrayal not only to others but to yourself as well. Ugolino had the will to betray even his own blood which only shows he is certainly capable of betraying his party.

Salcedo 4 [Type the document title]

Marco Lombardo in Purgatorio 16 relates to Dante how God created the soul as a simple thing, unaware of his maker and has been given the motion that turns willingly to things that bring it delight (85-90). This motion refers to love. Virgil relates to Dante that love is the motion that makes us act which may either lead us to virtue or vice (Purg. 17.104-105). Human beings are naturally attracted to what is good and love what is good. Before doing something, we always think of the good. In relation to Ugolino, he numbed his heart not for the sake of bad things but for the good which is just his own. In a sense, his own selfishness makes him a traitor since he chose only his self over his sons. A self-centered being would always choose to save himself first. The biting of Ugolinos hand could also depict his self-preservation without thinking of others plight. Lastly, the state of hopelessness Ugolino felt while in the tower ultimately depicts his betrayal. The line O hard earth, why did you not open up? reflects that he was indeed hopeless. (Inf. 33.66) In hopelessness, people would often think of themselves first and turn to

unscrupulous ways to save themselves. For Ugolino, hardening his heart was his last resort. He found no use to show compassion for his sons thus he chose not to exert effort anymore. Again, he only thought of himself even as he wished to die rather than to struggle. Pride as the queen of all sins can also be seen here as Ugolino retained his cold stance toward his sons all throughout their stay in the tower. He continued his decision of keeping silent as the days followed in the tower (Inf. 33. 64-65). He as well never accepted that it was wrong of him to stay that way. He sat and watched his sons grief and would never admit it was wrong of him to stay silent. He could have asked for a bargain, a plea or forgiveness for his sons sake but opted not to. In the end, he remained callous because his pride wont let him see the wrong decision he made.

Salcedo 5 [Type the document title]

Due to these characteristics of being a traitor, Ugolino deserved two punishments: one experiencing in the world and one in hell. Nearing his death in the tower, he watched as his sons died and he eventually became blind (Inf. 33. 70-72). While in hell, he is punished by being immersed in ice together with Ruggieri whose head he chews on (Inf. 32. 125-127). Ugolino as a punished traitor in hell has his head constantly bent down in revenge chewing on Ruggieris skull and had lost his sight when he was alive. Beatrice in Purgatorio 31 reminds Dante to lift up your beard and sight will bring you greater tears (68-69) so that one can recognize and atone for his sins. Similarly, if Ugolino has set his eyes on the sufferings of his sons and struggled to fight for them, he would have been able to turn his heart towards contrition. Finding the other hidden image of an ambiguous artwork must be looked upon from a different view. In an artwork, things without doubt are not always what they seem to be at first or even at the second or third glance. Such is Ugolinos story and sin as a traitor. But with close inspection, we get to prevent ourselves from keeping on being sidetracked.

Salcedo 6 [Type the document title]

Works Cited Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Inferno. Trans. Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam Dell, 1980. Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio. Trans. Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam Dell, 1982. Mandelbaum, Allen. Notes. New York: Bantam Dell, 1982. Trompe loeil. Microsoft Encarta. 2007.