Friday, November 4, 2016

Old Man of Crete

Of all the many allegories that Dante utilizes in Inferno, the Old Man of Crete is the most unique and interesting in my opinion. It alludes to the Bible by having the different body parts made of a decreasing level of sturdiness, all the way from the head of gold until the right foot of terra cota. Dante uses these aspects from the Bible to show his idea of the decline of human history over time. He therefore idolizes the Roman unity and peace that was achieved during the time of Augustus's rule. Augustus's rule would be represented by the gold, and the current time for Dante would be representative of the clay. Since most of the weight is on the right foot of clay, Dante foretells an upcoming collapse of society. Not only does the Old Man of Crete symbolize the Bible, but it also relates to the mythological story of Saturn eating his kids. Therefore it also mixes classical and Chrisitian. 

3 comments:

Rickeia Coleman said...

This is a prime example of Dante mixing Christianity and Roman paganism. However, Dante almost had to use ideas from the Roman idea of hell. The Bible itself does not provide vivid detail about hell and what to expect when you are there. As a result, Dante must borrow from Roman religion in order to give the explicit details that he does in Inferno. Although, some might say that it is sacrilegious for him to combine the two religions. I think this much is up to the reader, however, Dante had to use what was available to him.

Dylan Bryan said...

I also find the allegory of the Old Man of Crete to be the most interesting idea of the whole epic. Dante uses the Old Man of Crete to represent to decline of humanity. Now the Old Man of Crete puts most of his weight on his right foot of terra cotta, or the current world. I think Dante is trying to tell the people to be more peaceful and virtuous to return to Theron's of the Pax Romana. The Old Man of Crete is very confusing but also the most confusing allegory of Dante's Inferno as it is a single concept with deep meaning.

Brooke Williamson said...

I think it's significant that the man is standing on his right foot which is made of clay and represents the foundation of the Roman people during eras like Pax Romana