Il caso e la necessità: lettura del Canto XIII dell’Inferno Chance and Necessity: A Reading of Inferno XIII

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Carlo Prosperi

Abstract

Even if all of Inferno constitutes an evident denial of free will, the role of chance and necessity (the title is a transparent allusion to the famous essay by Monod) in this canto gains particular importance. On the one hand, the tree-man, now more tree than man even psychically speaking, has no choice whatsoever, neither to move nor to speak; on the other hand, there is something mechanical in the punishment of the squanderers, which, in spite of the tragic compulsion to repeat itself ad infinitum, albeit with some occasional variation of time and place (as in the Decameronian novella about Nastagio degli Onesti), reminds - also for the unnatural acceleration of the motion - of certain comedy films of yesteryear. Moreover, they move aimlessly, blindly and, unknowingly and perhaps unwillingly, they are blind instruments of torture for the suicides. And in the very reconstitution of their dissipated «individuality» they totally depend on some mysterious divine intervention.

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