Inferno Canto V

Inferno canto 5 Paolo e Francesca

‘Love, which absolves no one beloved from loving,
seized me so strongly with his charm that,
as you see, it has not left me yet.

vv. 103-105

The Second Circle: Carnal sinners. – Minos. – Shades renowned of old. – Francesca da Rimini.

At the entrance of the second Circle of Hell, Dante finds Minos, who hears the souls confess their sins, and then wraps his tail around himself to determine the number of the circle where they must plunge into. Dante describes the darkness and the wind whirling the souls in the Circle. The wind drags them along in a long queue. Virgil shows him some notable souls, but Dante is attracted by a man and a woman who, unlike the others, are flying together. The Poet kindly calls out to them and they approach him, like doves leaving their flock. The woman tells their tragedy, while the man keeps silent. They are Francesca da Polenta from Ravenna, the wife of the lord of Rimini, Gianciotto Malatesta, and Paolo, Francesca’s brother-in-law and lover. They were both killed by Gianciotto himself. Dante is upset and wants to understand the circumstances of the incident. Francesca tells him that one day as she and Paolo were reading the deeds of Lancelot and came to the kiss between the knight and Guinevere, Paolo kissed her. At Francesca’s words and Paolo’s tears, Dante passes out.

Casa dei polentani

Known as the Polentanis’ house, it is a building whose origins date back to 1300 and it is the last surviving example in the area where that noble family’s Great Houses were. It is also known as “Francesca’s house” in memory of the famous Canto, which movingly tells us the story of Francesca da Polenta.

Traduzione a cura della classe 5aC A.S.20/21 del Liceo Scientifico A. Oriani di Ravenna

Canto adopted by Famiglia Fabbri Gardini

For further information on The Polentani’s House

View Dante’s itinerary on the map

Available Resources

Reading of the Canto