~Gorons Special Crop~
this would be a cool tat if it had a possessive apostrophe
dats what im tolkien about
Goku’s signature move is the Kamehameha (かめはめ波 lit. “Kamehame Wave”?), an energy blast technique learned from Master Roshi. Another notable technique of Goku’s, taught to him by King Kai, is the Kaiō-ken (界王拳 lit. “World King Fist”?), an attack that multiplies his chi and strength for an instant, but can also strain his body afterwards.
teaching is a lot like being goku, apparently
I have a love-hate relationship with this canto for a number of reasons. Obvious stuff first: canto 18 marks the start of the second half of Inferno (18/34) and comes immediately after Dante and Virgil’s flight on Geryon. Geryon is among Dante’s most complex and allegorical monsters and the descent is prescient with regards to the experience of flight; in a generally sensational and exciting text, the moment stands out above others.
And then we get to the first two bolgia, panderers and seducers, followed by flatterers. Dante crams two entire bolgia - two subcircles - into one canto, the only time he does this in the poem. It feels rushed, and I think there’s a reason, which is that the contrapasso for panderers and seducers is the weakest in the entire text. Their punishment is to march in opposing circles while being whipped by horned demons. Only a very generous metaphorical reading registers this as adequate, compared to previous contrapassos. The panderers forced their prostitutes to work against their will and therefore they are marched against their will, perhaps, with the seducers facing a similar punishment for a slightly related sin. But what bothers me is the marching, because it seems to have nothing to do with the sin. The element of force against one’s will is apt. However, as that describes literally every soul in Hell, it’s not enough to count as a contrapasso. Contrapassos must reflect sin, must contain an element of the sin somehow, otherwise they are merely capricious, and Dante’s Hell is anything but. Following the episode on Geryon, the first half of this canto feels lackluster.
So Dante seems to speed by this bolgia and cover a second bolgia in the same canto, whisking his pilgrim to the subcircle of flatterers. Here is one of the absolute best contrapassos in the Inferno (juxtaposed with one of the worst). The flatterers are immersed in human waste, which symbolizes their false words. How elegant is that? Bullshitters are covered in shit and mad about it. A more illustrative example of the principle of contrapasso you could not ask for. My students love its simplicity and perfection. I do, too.
There’s no particular reason for Dante to cram two bolgia into one canto at this point in the poem. Thus far, every circle or subcircle got one canto, save the third subcircle of violence, which gets three (well, two and a half). Later in the Malebolge he splits bolgia among two cantos, but nowhere else is he so short with a circle as he is with the panderers and seducers. I think he knew that the start of canto 18 is a weak moment in his composition, and I think he takes us past it to get to cantos with more coherence, and I think the two contrapassos in one canto serve as his distraction from the opening weakness of the second half of the Inferno.