Chapter 12 : Educative Rectification in Dante's Commedia Dominican University The reader of Dante's Commedia relies on a systematic narrative and quickly learns to recognize recurring motifs for their revelatory value; this is the pedagogical language of a poem that mirrors and sustains a divine order. Transparent instructions punctuate the poem in the form of invocations, addresses to the reader, and explicit directions. This paper offers a reading of four passages in the Commedia that employ the verb drizzare [to straighten] in an imperative to the pilgrim and demonstrates how Dante uses physical and mental straightening to mediate a process of moral and intellectual rectification in the pilgrim student. Further, the motif of rectification in the Commedia motivates the teleological purpose of the poem and journey, thus directing reader and pilgrim in their progression toward the same goal. Rectification suggests a corrective measure, setting something right or restoring a situation to what is equitable; it also suggests straightening, realignment, and repositioning. What I have named the "metaphor of rectification" is a motif denoted by the word drizzare with the word torcere [to twist] within a span of ten verses (verbal, nominal, and adjectival variants are acceptable). There are
Essays in Medieval Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Aug 5, 2014
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