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From the point of view of the story, I think this means that, being in fact that of a ghost, it cannot speak until Dante has established communication by addressing it first.
Error - not so much of any specific act of sin or intellectual perversion as of that spiritual condition called "hardness of heart", in which sinfulness has so taken possession of the soul as to render it incapable of turning to God, or even knowing which way to turn.which on the mystical level is the image of the Soul's Ascent to God, is thus on the moral level the image of Repent- ance, by which the sinner returns to Gocl, It can be ascended directly from "the right road", but not from the Dark Wood, because there the soul's cherished sins have become, as it were, externalized, and appear to it like demons or "beasts" with a will and power of their own, blocking all progress.
Once lost in the Dark Wood, a'man can only escape by so descending into him- self that he sees his sin, not as an external obstacle, but as the will to chaos and death within him (Hell), Only when he has "died to sin" can he repent and purge it.
Mount Purgatory and the Mountain of Canto I are, therefore, really one and the same mountain, as seen on the far side, and on this side, of the "death •These arc the images of sin.
They may be identified with Lust, Pride, and Avarice respectively, or with the sins of Youth, Manhood, and Age; but they are perhaps best thought of as the images of the three types of sin which, if not repented, land the soul in one or other of the three main divisions of Hell (t/. It), medieval astronomy, the Earth was looked upon as being the centre of the universe, and the son counted as a planet. 30: so that the fixedfoot always was the lower: i.e. In walking, there is always one fixed foot and one moving foot; in going uphill, the moving foot is brought above, and in going downhill helow, the fixed foot.37: in his native sign; According to tradition, the Sim was in the Zodiacal sign of Aries (the Ram) at the moment of the creation.
Canto image of some hoped-for political saviour who should establish the fust World-Empire. In the Comedy, the Sun is often used as a figure for "the spiritual stin, which is God". The Sun is in Aries from 21 March to 21 April: therefore the "sweet season." is that of spring.
Spiritually, the Greyhound, which has the attributes of God ("wisdom, love, and power"), is prob- ably the image of the reign of the Holy Ghost on earth - the visible Kingdom of God for which we pray in the Lord's Prayer (cf. Later, we shall disco%er that the day is Good Friday, and that the moon was foil on. These indi- cations do not precisely correspond to the-actual Easter sky of T300; Dante has merely described the astronomical phenomena typical of Eastertide.63-4: as though grown voicelessfrom long lack of speech: i.e.
the form is trying to speak to Dante, but cannot make itself heard.
hit is turned aside, first by a gambolling Leopard, then by a fierce Lien, and finally by a ravenous She-Wolf.
As he is fleeing back into the Weed, he is stepped hy (he shade of Virgil, ivho tells him that he cannot hope to pass the Wolf and ascend the Mountain hy that road.
One day a Grey- hound will come ami drive the Wolf hack to Hell; but the only course at present left open to Dante is to trust himself to Virgil, who will guide Mm by a longer way, leading through Hell and Purgatory.
From there, a uvrfhier spirit than Virgil (Beatrice) will lead him on to see the Messed souls in Paradise.