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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Keeping Zoos Alive in a World of Dying Animals, by Miranda Carrington

Writer, M. Carrington

The debate of whether or not keeping animals in captivity is ethical has been around for as long as zoos have. There are zoo-goers, who enjoy seeing the animals and learning while doing so; and on the other side of the issue there are zoo critics, who believe that wild animals should be left untouched in nature. For years zoo critics and large corporations such as PETA have tried to put an end to the zoo industry, but the research done in zoos that goes towards wildlife protection is worth keeping animals in captivity in the eyes of several scientists. On top of this, studies are showing that many declining species would not have made it this far if it were not for the zoos that keep them alive. Elissa Cameron, for example, shows in her research of African elephants that over 40,000 elephants were killed in 2011 alone due to the ivory trade, and had this continued without zoos taking elephants to be held for speciation programs, they would be extinct (Cameron 2). Takehito Kaneko even shows proof of a successful speciation program taking place in Japan. There is currently a freeze-dry sperm program in which the sperm of certain species is collected and kept frozen for later use (Kaneko 1). With programs like these taking place in zoos, there should be no question of whether or not the animals should be held captive. Keep in mind too, that wild animals are to be held captive there are several regulations set forth by the AZA (aquarium and zoo association) that ensure the health and protection of these animals. These regulations are summarized in Meehan’s "Determining Connections Between The Daily Lives Of Zoo Elephants And Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach", showing the connection between the treatment of an animal in a zoo and that animal’s health. Still though, many people believe that wild animals are to stay in the wild, and keeping them in zoos (no matter how many regulations the zoo has managed to follow) is unethical. This viewpoint is understandable, with corporations like PETA and films like Blackfish feeding the public with propaganda, painting zoos out to be multimillion dollar businesses in it for the money rather than the welfare of animals. What many people do not realize though, is that these large corporation AZA accredited zoos are responsible for the regeneration of hundreds of nearly extinct species. On top of this, zoos and wildlife protection facilities generate education programs to teach the public about environmental preservation. Several zoos worldwide have established programs that have successfully regenerated nearly extinct species, as well as rehabilitated hundreds of injured animals. It is because of the direct health benefits and eventual population benefits to the animals, and the educational benefits to the public, that zoos should be more supported among critics and continue to house wild animals. 
To start off, most zoo-goers are able to appreciate both the beauty and education that a zoo has to offer. Most zoos and wildlife parks are equipped with factual information at each animal exhibit to teach their visitors about the animals that they are seeing. In addition to this, a large percentage of a zookeeper's job is to educate the public about the animals that they are seeing. These factors can be especially influential in the lives of young children. For example, when I was in grade school I remember visiting the zoo for the first time and being instantly inspired by the people in khaki shorts and hiking boots that were taking care of all of those beautiful animals. That kind of atmosphere is able to instil the idea in a person's mind that these animals are important and protecting them is our responsibility. The education program director of the Oregon Zoo, Rex Ettlin, even states “A zoo’s paramount purpose is to promote wildlife conservation. A zoo exists to educate. Research happens, recreation happens, but above all is the intent to educate” (Ettlin 1). The ability to learn by actually seeing a live animal, seeing what it can do and how it serves a purpose in the world, is a wonderful achievement. This is what makes zoos such useful education tools, Ettlin goes on to say that this type of learning is exciting because it is “active” and “live” and “outside the confines of four walls”, which is what seems to so easily engage children that may not otherwise want to learn about protecting animals (Ettlin 4). The Association of Zoos and Aquariums explains the importance of their education programs by stating “...AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums enhance the public’s understanding of wildlife and the need to conserve the places animals live” (AZA homepage). In order to continue protecting wild animals, it is critical that the public is educated on the problem and various ways to help solve it. If we were to get rid of zoos altogether, it is likely that the average person would not know how to go about protecting wild animals. People are able to better themselves, and the animals, through zoo education programs.
Next, it is important to recognize the health benefits that zoos provide for the animals being held in them. In addition to rehabilitation programs that nurse sick animals back to health, zoos have also done studies proving that human contact has increased the mental health and happiness in their animals. One example comes from the article “Training Reduces Stress In Human-Socialised Wolves To The Same Degree As In Dogs” written by Angélica da Silva Vasconcellos. It has been shown that a major contribution to the stress in wild animals comes from the lack of predictability in their natural environments (Vasconcellos 1). A zoo provides a controlled environment that is able to reduce the stresses of living in the wild. Finding the next meal, or protecting offspring from danger no longer becomes a pressing issue. In addition to this, Vasconcellos and his team have collected research showing that training wolves has reduced their stress just as it would in a domesticated dog. Keep in mind that the close evolutionary connection between the two species may contribute to this similarity in the reaction to human interaction. However, wolves are wild animals nonetheless and seem to be benefitting (mentally and physically) from being trained by humans. The behavioral and psychological effects of training wolves were measured by observing behaviors linked to stress in animals, and salivary levels throughout the training (Vasconcellos 2). Through classical conditioning much like the studies done with Pavlov’s dogs in 1889, researchers were able to measure salivary levels and connect that to a wolve’s psychological reaction. Because wolves are such social animals, their reactions to the human training were almost always positive (Vasconcellos 4). The conclusion to be made by the results of this study is that increasing the interaction between “wild social candids” such as wolves, and their caretakers, can greatly improve the welfare of animals being held in zoos (Vasconcellos 4). This same conclusion can be made about several other social species; dolphins, elephants, otters, and meerkats are just a few examples. Of course, these animals are interacting with members of their own species in the wild, however it is important to understand that in zoos they benefit from human interaction as well. 
The welfare of animals is a top priority at AZA accredited zoos. In order to protect and save wild animals, we must treat them with respect and provide the proper shelter, nutrition, and attention that each one requires. Zoos understand this, and have regulations set forth in order to provide for each animal being held. In her article “Determining Connections Between The Daily Lives Of Zoo Elephants And Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach”, Cheryl Meehan provides statistical data that shows the correlation between an elephant's treatment in the zoo, and it’s overall health. Meehan includes housing, interaction, and life history under areas of “welfare” and correlates the results to “performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues” (Meehan 1). By collecting data from 68 AZA accredited zoos, she found that 96% of the time, larger housing areas and increased social time decreased the likelihood of health problems by 42% (Meehan 4). The conclusion to be made here is somewhat obvious, but equally important, the better an animal is treated in a zoo, the longer and healthier it’s life will be. This is why the AZA sets regulations on the care of all animals in accredited zoos; their treatment does affect their long term health and the importance of this is not to be taken lightly.
Above all, the most beneficial aspect of large corperation zoos are the speciation programs that can be implemented. These corporations are profitable and therefore have the funds to conduct research that protects endangered species, unlike small wildlife refuges. The intent from both parties is the same, to protect wild animals, however larger zoos tend to have more resources that allow them to complete this task before smaller corporations do. One program in particular that has been able to successfully regenerate species’ in a controlled setting is the Sperm Preservation Program at the National Zoo of Japan. In short, the process involves the freeze-drying of live animal sperm to later be inseminated in females of the same species.
This has been tried on long haired rats, weasels, chimpanzees, giraffes and jaguars (Kaneko 2). In all cases, scientists found that when the sperm was taken out to be used it was still in tact (Kaneko 3). Seaworld has successfully done this as well, with the breeding of killer whales, though unfortunately this program was shut down after the Seaworld scandal became so prominent in 2012. Despite the program being stopped, it was successful in the sense that orcas were being kept alive in captivity and no longer taken out of the wild to be bred in zoos, instead the orcas were born in the zoos that they would then grow up in (Schelling 2). On the same note, Jack Hanna explains in his article “What Zoo Critics Don’t Understand” that people are so quick to state that wild animals belong in the wild, however “the wild” is “ceasing to exist” (Hanna 1). This is a product of human expansion and it is a reason for the importance of zoos. He goes on to explain the value in large zoo breeding programs, stating that without zoos continuing with these programs many of the species that have before neared extinction would have made it to that point (Hanna 2). Here, one can see the importance of a zoo staying open very clearly, without these programs many species would no longer be here.
As a zoology student, this subject is particularly important to me as it directly relates to my future career. More importantly though, as a human on this planet, the topic of wildlife protection is exceedingly important to me as it should be to many others. Understanding the relevance that zoos have towards protecting animals is a very important step in protecting them. The education that zoos provide allow people to know that there is something worth saving out there; if it were not for zoos my interest in zoological and wildlife studies would have never came to be. It is safe to say that this is the case for many famous zoologists as well, Jane Goodall being the most prominent example. The studies that have been done to show the increased mental and physical health in zoo animals is also a large point to consider. Above all though, the presence of speciation programs in zoos is reason enough to keep supporting them. Private field researchers and small protective refugees simply do not have the resources or funds that large corporations put towards protecting and re-stabilizing the populations of endangered species. All in all, there are many more reasons for keeping zoos open than there are for shutting them down. As much as zoo critics would like to say it’s about the money, it truly is about the protection of our planet and every creature on it.
Works Cited
Cameron, Elissa Z., and Sadie J. Ryan. "Welfare at Multiple Scales: Importance of Zoo

            Elephant Population Welfare in a World of Declining Wild Populations."
Ettlin, Rex. "A Zoo Is a Great Educational Tool." CLEARING A Resource Journal of
Environmental and Placebased Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
Hanna, Jack. "Jack Hanna: What Zoo Critics Don’t Understand." Time.com, 15 May 2015, Web.
11 Oct. 2016.
Kaneko, Takehito. "Sperm Preservation By Freeze-Drying For The Conservation Of Wild
Animals." Plos ONE, 9, 11, 2014, 1-4.Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Meehan, Cheryl L."Determining Connections Between The Daily Lives Of Zoo Elephants
And Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach." Plos ONE, 11, 7, 2016, 1-15.
Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
Schelling, Ameena. "SeaWorld Explains Why It Stopped Breeding Orcas." The Dodo. N.p., 05
Apr. 2016. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
Vasconcellos, Angélica da Silva. "Training Reduces Stress In Human-Socialised Wolves To
The Same Degree As In Dogs."Plos ONE, 11, 9, 2016, 1-19. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.


 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Bodacious Nature of New Zealand, by Julie Renee Phelan


Indigenous Vegetation
As I was flying over New Zealand, the lush vegetation provided by the rich soil was evident; I thought about the many volcanoes on these two islands, north and south, which comprise the country of New Zealand, and assumed that the geothermal activity in this region may have provided rich soil for the vegetation. Upon landing, I looked around at the vegetation between the Auckland Airport and my Hostel in Auckland, and surmised that this vegetation must be what Jurassic Park would look like on steroids. The leaves were large, and every place there was soil; there indeed was a lush healthy looking plant. I decided to investigate this further by going to the University of Auckland Library, which is where I find myself today—reading books regarding the geology and geography of New Zealand.

Topography
Topography:

            New Zealand consists of two large islands, and many, many much smaller islands such as the one I was on yesterday, Waiheke Island. The two main islands are dissected by mountains topographical boundaries, and are separated by a narrow strait, named Cook Strait after Captain Cook. The mountain ranges are south-west to north-east, which were formed due to a major discontinuity where two major tectonic plates collide. This collision of the plates has caused the South Island mountain range, the Southern Alps to rise to the country’s highest altitude. The middle of the North Island is dominated by volcanic formations, which is also a result of tectonic activity. Large mountains, such as Ruapehu, Tonariro and Tarawera offers large amounts of lava outflows. The craters have been filled in with lakes, Taupo and Okataina or Roturua. I will be going to Taupo and Roturua to vacation, not sure that is such a great idea right now with all the geothermal activity on the South Island, but this is on the North Island, let’s hope that makes a difference. Due to the narrowness and elevation of the main islands, the rivers are narrow and swift. Although the lakes are mainly of glacial origin on the South Island, which results in many rivers, the North Island dunes and volcanic flows have entrapped most of the lakes, which results in fewer rivers.

Climate
Climate:

            There are three major factors that influence the climate of New Zealand; its position on the globe, its location as it relates to the ocean, and its topography. New Zealand has mostly a westerly wind. During the summer, a high-pressure belt lies about 36 degrees south, which brings a series of anticyclones, which are separated by low pressure, which run eastwardly.  Those troughs are depressions which are eastwards blow 50 degrees south. During the winter, this pattern moves about 10 degrees north. In that manner, the high-pressure system exerts less influence on the weather. Since New Zealand is more than 1000 kilometers from the nearest large land mass, the weather systems are influenced by the passage over the ocean. The winds arriving onto land pick up moisture from the ocean, which causes a moderate temperate climate system. The location in the mid-latitude westerly belts gives New Zealand a humid climate. This pattern however is substantially adjusted due to the topography of New Zealand. The long narrow mountain ranges on both the North Island and South Island provides rain in the western areas, and dry area to the eastern areas of the mountain ranges, which creates a region east of the mountains with a low rainfall and a lot of sunshine.

Soil
Soil:

            Soil is the end product of the interaction of climate, topography, vegetation, and time. Soil is dependent upon the local climate, which includes the temperature and amount of rainfall, which is affected by the differences in the local topography, which affects the varying types of vegetation, and the amount of time that this has been developing. Most of the soils in New Zealand are brown on the south-eastern side of the topographical barrier of the narrow mountain range. Brown soils are yellowish-brown in the upper sub-soils, they have moderate fertility. Mainly in areas that are moist throughout the year. They however have pallic soils closer to the south-eastern seaboard, which is high bulk density, moderate or high fertility yet dry in the summer. On the North Island and in Auckland, where I originally noticed the Jurassic like vegetation, they have Pumice soils, which are coarse-textured and dominated by pumice or volcanic glass with a low clay content.

Exotic Vegetation
Vegetation:

            Since the beginning of the nineteenth century with the arrival of the Europeans, the flora and fauna have undergone a startling transformation. Native plants have been replaced by exotic plants mostly in the densely populated areas. Many of the wetlands have disappeared due to urbanization or agricultural development. The introduction by the Europeans of the more exotic flora and fauna has altered the vegetation pattern. The exotic forests introduced has been encroaching on the indigenous forest, much like the Europeans have been encroaching on the indigenous Maori tribes. When I arrived, I unexpectedly experienced tropical flora and fauna vegetation, which were surprisingly extremely healthy.

Work Cited

Kirkpatrick, Russell. Bateman Contemporary Atlas New Zealand: The Shapes of Our Nation. 2nd ed. Auckland: David Bateman, 2005. Print.

Summary: Analysis: Manuscript: Play: Doctor Faustus, Act III, scene ii, lines 1 to 28, by Christopher Marlowe, by Julie Renee Phelan

Christopher Marlowe, 1564 to 1593
Summary:
             The trumpets are played, which may signal the departure of the Pope in the previous scene, and/or the entrance of the banquet. Mephostophilis explains to Faustus that he should prepare himself for some fun. The tired cardinals are concerned about the captivity of Bruno, and they are riding swiftly over the alps to Germany in order to apologize to the sad Emporer. Faustus states that the Pope is going to be angry because the cardinals lost Bruno and his crown. Faustus now delights in his mind; by their mistake, he has some merriment. Faustus requests to be invisible to everyone in the room so that he can do as he pleases.
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             Mephostophilis grants Faustus his wish by asking him to kneel down. He recites an incantation: On your head I lay my hand, and charm you with this magic wand. First wear this girdle, a belt worn around the waist, which is often used to carry a weapon or purse, then you will appear invisible to all who are here: The planets seven, the gloomy air, Hell, and the Furies forked hair (the Furies were dread goddesses), Pluto's blue fire and Hecate's tree (Pluto is from the underworld, and the gallows tree associated with Hecate, the goddess of magic) with this magic spell that does encompass you, no person's eye shall be able to see your body.
             Mephostophilis asks Faustus for the sake of God, do what you will, you will not be noticed.
Analysis:
             A sennet, or rather a set of notes are played on a trumpet, which signals an approach or a departure. In this manner, while the trumpets may have been sounded for either the departure of the Pope in the previous scence, and/or the arrival of the banquet. It is not for Faustus and Mephostophilis who enter the room in their own shapes. Faustus and Mephostophilis have the ability to take different shapes and forms.
             Mephostophilis explains to Faustus that he should prepare himself for some fun. The tired cardinals are having a difficult time censuring Bruno; they are concerned with the captivity of Bruno. They therefore are riding on a proud and fast horse as swift as a thought; they are flying over the Alps to bountiful Germany, in order to apologize to the despairingly sad Emperor.
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             Faustus declares that the Pope is going to be very angry at the Cardinals for their sloppiness, who lost through their inattentiveness Bruno and the Pope's crown by the hands of Mephostopholis and Faustus. Faustus now delights in his mind; by their mistake, he has some merriment. Faustus requests to be invisible to everyone in the room so that he can do as he pleases.
             Mephostophilis grants Faustus his wish by asking him to kneel down. He recites an incantation: On your head I lay my hand, and charm you with this magic wand. First wear this girdle, a belt worn around the waist, which is often used to carry a weapon or purse, then you will appear invisible to all who are here: The planets seven, the gloomy air, Hell, and the Furies forked hair (the Furies were dread goddesses with forked tongues snakes twined in their hair), Pluto's blue fire and Hecate's tree (the sulfurous flames of Pluto's underworld, and the gallows tree associated with Hecate, the goddess of magic, or Trivia as goddess of cross-ways, where gallows are set up) with this magic spell that does encompass you, no person's eye shall be able to see your body.
             Mephostophilis asks Faustus for the sake of God, do what you will, you will not be noticed.
             Faustus ironically says, “Now friars take notice, or Faustus will make your shaven heads bleed.”
             Mephostophilis asks to stop because the cardinals are entering.
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Manuscript:
A sennet while the banquet is brought in, and then enter Faustus and Mephostophilis in their own shapes.
Mephostophilis: Now Faustus, come prepare thyself for mirth
(2) The sleepy cardinals are hard at hand
(3) To censure Bruno, that is posted hence.
(4) And on a proud-paced steed as swift as thought
(5) Flies o'er the Alps to fruitful Germany,
(6) There to salute the woeful Emperor.
Faustus: The Poope will curse them for their sloth today
(8) That slept both Bruno and his crown away.
(9) But now, that Faustus may delight his mind
(10) And by their folly make some merriment,
(11) Sweet Mephostophilis, so charm me here
(12) Tat I may walk invisible to all
(13) And do whate'er I please unseen of any.
Mephostophilis: Faustus, thou shalt. Then kneel down presently,
(15) Whilst on they head I lay my hand
(16) And charm thee with this magic wand.
(17) First wear this girdle, then appear
(18) Invisible to all are here:
(19) The planets seven, the gloomy air,
(20) Hell, and the Furies forked hair,
(21) Pluto's blue fire, and Hecat's tree
(22) With magic spells so compass there
(23) That no eye may thy body see.
(24) So Faustus, now for all their holiness,
(25) Do what thou wilt, thou shall not be discerned.
Faustus: Thanks Mephostophilis. Now Friars, take heed
(27) Lest Faustus make your shaven crowns to bleed.
Mephostophilis: Faustus, no more. See where the cardinals come.
Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe Forward Link:
Summary: Analysis: Manuscript: Play: Doctor Faustus, Act III, scene ii, lines 29 to 55, by Christopher Marlowe, by Julie Renee Phelan
Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe Backward Link:
Summary: Analysis: Manuscript: Play: Doctor Faustus, Act III, scene i, lines 163 to 204, by Christopher Marlowe, by Julie Renee Phelan
Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe First Page Link:
Introduction: Play: Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe, by Julie Renee Phelan
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Work Cited
Marlowe, Christopher. Doctor Faustus. Ed. by Barnet, Sylvan. New York: Penguin Group, Inc., 1969. 

Steane, J.B. Marlowe: A Critical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964.

Oxford English Dictionary Online. 2nd ed. 1989. Lane Library, Ripon College, Ripon, WI.

Summary: Analysis: Translation: Manuscript: Poem: The Inferno: Canto XIV, by Dante Alighieri, by Julie Renee Phelan


Canto XIV: Summary:
Virgil and Dante came to the edge of the forest where they go from second to third round, and there they saw the fearful arts of the hand of Justice. Virgil and Dante arrived at the plain of the burning sand with an eternal rain of fire. There are enormous herds of naked souls with burning tears. There are three classes of sinners suffering differing degrees of exposure to the fire. The Blasphemers are those who were violent against God, and they are stretched supine upon the sand. Another class includes the Sodomites, who are those that committed violence against nature, and they run in endless circles. The last class includes the Usurers, who were violent against art, which is the Grandchild of God, and they huddle on the sands.

Virgil and Dante walked forward in silence “Till [they] reached a rill that gushes from the wood; it ran so red the memory sends a shudder through [Dante] still." The reference to when they “Reached a rill:” The rill is still blood-red and boiling. The rill is the overflow of Phlegethon which descends across the Wood of the Suicides and Burning Plain to plunge over the Great Cliff into the Eighth Circle. The rill is clearly a water of marvels, for it not only petrifies the sands over which it flows, but the rill also offers clouds of steam which quench all the flames. Virgil and Dante’s course across the plain will lie along the margins of this rill.

Dante to Virgil asks, “Where shall we find Phlegethon’s course? And Lethe’s? When Dante asks about Phlegethon, Virgil explains that they have already seen Phlegethon. Phlegethon is the river of boiling blood, and [Dante] is standing beside a branch of it. Virgil explains that Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, lies ahead. Virgil explain that Dante “Shall stand by Lethe, but far hence: there, where the spirits go to wash themselves when their guilt has been removed by penitence."

Canto XIV: Analysis:

The seventh circle, but third round. Virgil and Dante “Came to the edge of the forest where one goes from the second round to the third, and there we saw what fearful arts the hand of Justice knows” (4-6). Virgil and Dante “Came to a plain whose soil repels all roots” (8). The plain of burning sand upon which there descends an eternal slow rain of fire. The ground of burning sand was “Such a waste as Cato marched across” (12). In 47 B.C., Cato of Utica led an army across the Libyan desert. Lucan describes the march in “Pharsalia, IX, and 587 ff.

Dante described, “Enormous herds of naked souls [he] saw, lamenting till their eyes were burned of tears; they seemed condemned by an unequal law, for some were stretched supine upon the ground, some squatted with their arms about themselves, and others without pause roamed round and round” (16-21). There are three classes of sinners suffering differing degrees of exposure to the fire. The Blasphemers are those who were violent against God, and they are stretched supine upon the sand. Another class includes the Sodomites, who are those that committed violence against nature, and they run in endless circles. The last class includes the Usurers, who were violent against art, which is the Grandchild of God, and they huddle on the sands.

Dante continues his description, “And over all that sand on which they lay or crouched or roamed, great flakes of flame fell slowly as snow falls in the Alps on a windless day. Like those Alexander met in the hot regions of India, flames raining from the sky to fall still unextinguished on his legions: whereat [Alexander] formed his ranks, and at their head set the example, trampling the hot ground for fear the tongues of fire might join and spread—just so in Hell descended the long rain upon the damned, kindling the sand like tinder under a flint and steel, doubling the pain” (25-36).

The reference to being “Like those Alexander” is referring to Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great had a campaign in India, and his campaign is described in “De Meteoris” of Albertus Magnus. Albertus Magnus made considerable alterations to the letter reputedly sent to Aristotle by Alexander.

Dante to Virgil says, “Poet, master of every dread we have encountered, other than those fiends who sallied from the last gate of the dead—who is that wraith who lies along the rim and sets his face against the fire scorn, so that the rain seems not to mellow him?” (40-45) “That wraith who lies along the rim” is Capaneus. Capaneus is one of the seven captains who warred on Thebes. As Capaneus scaled the walls of Thebes, Capaneus defied Jove to protect them. Jove replied with a thunderbolt that killed the blasphemer with his blasphemy still on his lips.

Capaneus replied, “What I was living, the same am I now, dead. Though Jupiter wear out his sooty smith from whom on my last day he snatched in anger the jagged thunderbolt he pierced me with; though he wear out the others one by one who larbor at the forge at Mongibello crying again ‘Help! Help! Help me, good Vulcan!’” (48-54) The reference to “Mongibello” is referring to Mt. Etna. Vulcan was believed to have his smithy inside the volcano.

Capaneus continued, “As [Jove] did at Phlegra; and hurl down endlessly with all the power of Heaven in his arm, small satisfaction would [Jove] win from me” (55-57). The reference to “As [Jove] did at Phlegra” refers to the battle of Phlegra in Thessaly. The Titans tried to storm Olympus. Jove drove the Titans back with the help of the thunderbolts Vulcan forged for him. Capaneus himself is reminiscent of the Titans. Similar to the Titans, Capaneus is a giant, and certainly no less impious.

Virgil yelled, “O Capaneus, by your insolence you are made to suffer as much fire inside as falls upon you. Only your own rage could be fit torment for your sullen pride” (60-63). Virgil with gentleness in his tone to Dante said, Capaneus “Was one of the Seven who laid siege to Thebes. Living, [Capaneus] scorned God, and among the dead he scorns Him yet. He thinks he may detest God’s power too easily, but as I told him, his slobber is a fit badge for his beast” (65-69).

Virgil and Dante walked forward in silence “Till [they] reached a rill that gushes from the wood; it ran so red the memory sends a shudder through [Dante] still” (73-75). The reference to when they “Reached a rill:” The rill is still blood-red and boiling. The rill is the overflow of Phlegethon which descends across the Wood of the Suicides and Burning Plain to plunge over the Great Cliff into the Eighth Circle. The rill is clearly a water of marvels, for it not only petrifies the sands over which it flows, but the rill also offers clouds of steam which quench all the flames. Virgil and Dante’s course across the plain will lie along the margins of this rill.

Similar to the “Bulicame springs the stream the sinful women keep to their own use; so down the sand the rill flowed out in steam” (76-78). The “Bulicame” is a hot sulphur spring near Viterbo. The choice of the Bulicame is apt, for the waters of the Bulicame not only boil and steam, but they also have a distinctly reddish tint due to its mineral content. One part of the Bulicame flows out through what was once a quarter reserved for prostitutes; and the prostitutes were given special rights to the water. The prostitutes were given special rights because they were not permitted to use the public baths.

Virgil to Dante tells a story, “In the middle of the sea, and gone to waste, there lies a country known as Crete, under whose king the ancient world was chaste. Once Rhea chose it as the secret crypt and cradle of her son; and better to hide him, her Corybantes raised a din when he wept. An ancient giant stands in the mountain’s core. He keeps his shoulder turned toward Damietta, and looks toward Rome as if it were his mirror. His head is made of gold; of silverwork his breast and both his arms, of polished brass the rest of his great torso to the fork. He is of chosen iron from there down, except that his right foot is terra cotta; it is this foot he rests more weight upon. Every part except the gold is split by a great fissure from which endless tears drip down and hollow out the mountain’s pit. Their course sinks to this pit from stone to stone, becoming Acheron, Phlegethon, and Styx. Then by this narrow sluice they hurtle down to the end of all descent, and disappear into Cocytus” (91-113).

The reference to “Rhea” is to the wife of Saturn, Cronos, and mother of Jove, Zeus. It has been prophesied to Saturn that one of his own children would dethrone him. To nullify the prophecy Saturn devoured each of his children at birth. On the birth of Jove, Rhea duped Saturn by letting him bolt down a stone wrapped in baby clothes. After this tribute to her husband’s appetite she hid the infant on Mount Ida in Crete. There Rhea posted her Corybantes, or Bacchantes, as guards and instructed them to set up a great din whenever the baby cried. Therefore, Saturn would not hear the baby cry. The Corybantic dances of the ancient Greeks were based on the frenzied shouting and clashing of swords of shields with which the Corybantes protected the infant Jove.

The reference to “An ancient giant” refers to the Old Man of Crete. Originally, this figure occurs in “Daniel, ii, 32-34. In “Daniel” is it told by Daniel as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In this interpretation, each metal represents one of the ages of man, each deteriorating from the Golden Age of Innocence. The left foot, terminating the Age of Iron, is the Holy Roman Empire. The right foot, of terra cotta, is the Roman Catholic Church. The terra cotta is a more fragile base than the left, but the one upon which the greater weight descends. The tears of the woes of man are a Dantean detail: they flow down the great fissure that defaces all but the Golden Age. Thus, starting in woe, they flow through man’s decline, into the hollow of the mountain and become the waters of Hell. The site and position of the figure: equidistant from the three continents, the Old Man stands at a sort of center of Time, his back turned to Damietta in Egypt, which symbolizes the East being of the past and birth of religion. The Old Man fixes his gaze upon Rome, which symbolizes the West being of the future and the Roman Catholic Church. “Cocytus” is the frozen lake that lies at the bottom of Hell.

Dante to Virgil asks, “Where shall we find Phlegethon’s course? And Lethe’s? When Dante asks about Phlegethon, Virgil explains that they have already seen Phlegethon. Phlegethon is the river of boiling blood, and [Dante] is standing beside a branch of it. Virgil explains that Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, lies ahead. Virgil explain that Dante “Shall stand by Lethe, but far hence: there, where the spirits go to wash themselves when their guilt has been removed by penitence” (130-132).

Canto XIV: English Translation:

(1) Love of that land that was our common source
(2) Moved me to tears; I gathered up the leaves
(3) And gave them back. He was already hoarse.

(4) We came to the edge of the forest where one goes
(5) From the second round to the third, and there we saw
(6) What fearful arts the hand of Justice knows.

(7) To make these new things wholly clear, I say
(8) We came to a plain whose soil repels all roots.
(9) The wood of misery rings it the same way

(10) The wood itself is ringed by the red fosse.
(11) We paused at its edge: the ground was burning sand,
(12) Just such a waste as Cato marched across.

(13) O endless wrath of God: how utterly
(14) Thou shouldst become a terror to all men
(15) Who read the frightful truths revealed to me!

(16) Enormous heards of naked souls I saw,
(17) Lamenting till their eyes were burned of tears;
(18) They seemed condemned by an unequal law,

(19) For some were stretched supine upon the ground,
(20) Some squatted with their arms about themselves,
(21) And others without pause roamed round and round.

(22) Most numerous were those that roamed the plain.
(23) Far fewer were the souls stretched on the sand,
(24) But moved to louder cries by greater pain.

(25) And over all that sand on which they lay
(26) Or crouched or roamed, great flakes of flame fell slowly
(27) As snow falls in the Alps on a windless day.

(28) Like those Alexander met in the hot regions
(29) Of India, flames raining from the sky
(30) To fall still unextinguished on his legions:

(31) Whereat he formed his ranks, and at their head
(32) Set the example, trampling the hot ground
(33) For fear the tongues of fire might join and spread―

(34) Just so in Hell descended the long rain
(35) Upon the damned, kindling the sand like tinder
(36) Under a flint and steel, doubling the pain.

(37) In a never-ending fit upon those sands,
(38) The arms of the damned twitched all about their bodies
(39) Now here, now there, brushing away the brands.

(40) “Poet,” I said, “master of every dread
(41) We have encountered, other than those fiends
(42) Who sallied from the last gate of the dead―

(43) Who is that wraith who lies along the rim
(44) And sets his face against the fire in scorn
(45) So that the rain seems not to mellow him?”

(46) And he himself, hearing what I had said
(47) To my Guide and Lord concerning him, replied:
(48) “What I was living, the same am I now, dead.

(49) Though Jupiter wear out his sooty smith
(50) From whom on my last day he snatched in anger
(51) The jagged thunderbolt he pierced me with;

(52) Though he wear out the others one by one
(53) Who labor at the forge at Mongibello
(54) Crying again ‘Help! Help! Help me, good Vulcan!’

(55) As he did at Phlegra; and hurl down endlessly
(56) With all the power of Heaven in his arm,
(57) Small satisfaction would he win from me.”

(58) At this my Guide spoke with such vehemence
(59) As I had not heard from him in all of Hell:
(60) “O Capaneus, by your insolence

(61) You are made to suffer as much fire inside
(62) As falls upon you. Only your own rage
(63) Could be fit torment for your sullen pride.”

(64) Then he turned to me more gently. “That,” he said,
(65) “was one of the Seven who laid siege to Thebes.
(66) Living, he scorned God, and among the dead

(67) He scorns Him yet. He thinks he may detest
(68) God’s power too easily, but as I told him,
(69) His slobber is a fit badge for his breast.

(70) Now follow me; and mind for your own good
(71) You do not step upon the burning sand,
(72) But keep well back along the edge of the wood.”

(73) We walked in silence then till we reached a rill
(74) That gushes from the wood; it ran so red
(75) The memory sends a shudder through me still.

(76) As from the Bulicame springs the stream
(77) The sinful women keep to their own use;
(78) So down the sand the rill flowed out in steam.

(79) The bed and both its banks were petrified.
(80) As were its margins; thus I knew at once
(81) Our passage through the sand lay by its side.

(82) “Among all other wonders I have shown you
(83) Since we came through the gate denied to none,
(84) Nothing your eyes have seen its equal to

(85) The marvel of the rill by which we stand,
(86) For it stifles all the flames above its course
(87) As it flows out across the burning sand.”

(88) So spoke my Guide across the flickering light,
(89) And I begged him to bestow on me the food
(90) For which he had given me the appetite.

(91) “In the middle of the sea, and gone to waste,
(92) There lies a country known as Crete,” he said,
(93) “under whose king the ancient world was chaste.

(94) Once Rhea chose it as the secret crypt
(95) And cradle of her son; and better to hide him,
(96) Her Corybantes raised a din when he wept.

(97) An ancient giant stands in the mountain’s core.
(98) He keeps his shoulder turned toward Damietta,
(99) And looks toward Rome as if it were his mirror.

(100) His head is made of gold; of silverwork
(101) His breast and both his arms, of polished brass
(102) The rest of his great torso to the fork.

(103) He is of chosen iron from there down,
(104) Except that his right foot is terra cotta;
(105) It is this foot he rests more weight upon.

(106) Every part except the gold is split
(107) By a great fissure from which endless tears
(108) Drip down and hollow out the mountain’s pit.

(109) Their course sinks to this pit from stone to stone,
(110) Becoming Acheron, Phlegethon, and Styx.
(111) Then by this narrow sluice they hurtle down

(112) To the end of all descent, and disappear
(113) Into Cocytus. You shall see what sink that is
(114) With your own eyes. I pass it in silence here.”

(115) And I to him: “But if these waters flow
(116) From the world above, why is this rill met only
(117) Along this shelf? And he to me: “You know

(118) The place is round, and though you have come deep
(119) Into the valley through the many circles,
(120) Always bearing left along the steep,

(121) You have not traveled any circle through
(122) Its total round; hence when new things appear
(123) From time to time, that hardly should surprise you.”

(124) And I: “Where shall we find Phlegethon’s course?
(125) And Lethe’s? One you omit, and of the other
(126) You only say the tear-flood is its source.”

(127) “In all you ask me you please me truly,”
(128) He answered, “but the red and boiling water
(129) Should answer the first question you put to me,

(130) And you shall stand by Lethe, but far hence:
(131) There, where the spirits go to wash themselves
(132) When their guilt has been removed by penitence.”

(133) And then he said: “Now it is time to quit
(134) This edge of shade: follow close after me
(135) Along the rill, and do not stray from it;

(136) For the unburning margins form a lane,
(137) And by them we may cross the burning plain.”

Canto XIV: Italian Manuscript:

(1) Poi che la carità del natio loco
(2) mi strinse, raunai le fronde sparte
(3) e rende’le a colui, ch’era già fioco.

(4) Indi venimmo al fine ove si parte
(5) lo secondo giron dal terzo, e dove
(6) si vede di giustizia orribil arte.

(7) A ben manifestar le cose nove,
(8) dico che arrivammo ad una landa
(9) che dal suo letto ogne pianta rimove.

(10) La dolorosa selva l’è ghirlanda
(11) intorno, come ’l fosso tristo ad essa;
(12) quivi fermammo i passi a randa a randa.

(13) Lo spazzo era una rena arida e spessa,
(14) non d’altra foggia fatta che colei
(15) che fu da’ piè di Caton già soppressa.

(16) O vendetta di Dio, quanto tu dei
(17) esser temuta da ciascun che legge
(18) ciò che fu manifesto a li occhi mei!

(19) D’anime nude vidi molte gregge
(20) che piangean tutte assai miseramente,
(21) e parea posta lor diversa legge.

(22) Supin giacea in terra alcuna gente,
(23) alcuna si sedea tutta raccolta,
(24) e altra andava continüamente.

(25) Quella che giva ’ntorno era più molta,
(26) e quella men che giacëa al tormento,
(27) ma più al duolo avea la lingua sciolta.

(28) Sovra tutto ’l sabbion, d’un cader lento,
(29) piovean di foco dilatate falde,
(30) come di neve in alpe sanza vento.

(31) Quali Alessandro in quelle parti calde
(32) d’Indïa vide sopra ’l süo stuolo
(33) fiamme cadere infino a terra salde,

(34) per ch’ei provide a scalpitar lo suolo
(35) con le sue schiere, acciò che lo vapore
(36) mei si stingueva mentre ch’era solo:

(37) tale scendeva l’etternale ardore;
(38) onde la rena s’accendea, com’ esca
(39) sotto focile, a doppiar lo dolore.

(40) Sanza riposo mai era la tresca
(41) de le misere mani, or quindi or quince
(42) escotendo da sé l’arsura fresca.

(43) I’ cominciai: «Maestro, tu che vinci
(44) tutte le cose, fuor che ’ demon duri
(45) ch’a l’intrar de la porta incontra uscinci,

(46) chi è quel grande che non par che curi
(47) lo ’ncendio e giace dispettoso e torto,
(48) sì che la pioggia non par che ’l marturi?».

(49) E quel medesmo, che si fu accorto
(50) ch’io domandava il mio duca di lui,
(51) gridò: «Qual io fui vivo, tal son morto.

(52) Se Giove stanchi ’l suo fabbro da cui
(53) crucciato prese la folgore aguta
(54) onde l’ultimo dì percosso fui;

(55) o s’elli stanchi li altri a muta a muta
(56) in Mongibello a la focina negra,
(57) chiamando "Buon Vulcano, aiuta, aiuta!",

(58) sì com’ el fece a la pugna di Flegra,
(59) e me saetti con tutta sua forza:
(60) non ne potrebbe aver vendetta allegra».

(61) Allora il duca mio parlò di forza
(62) tanto, ch’i’ non l’avea sì forte udito:
(63) «O Capaneo, in ciò che non s’ammorza

(64) la tua superbia, se’ tu più punito;
(65) nullo martiro, fuor che la tua rabbia,
(66) sarebbe al tuo furor dolor compito».

(67) Poi si rivolse a me con miglior labbia,
(68) dicendo: «Quei fu l’un d’i sette regi
(69) ch’assiser Tebe; ed ebbe e par ch’elli abbia

(70) Dio in disdegno, e poco par che ’l pregi;
(71) ma, com’ io dissi lui, li suoi dispetti
(72) sono al suo petto assai debiti fregi.

(73) Or mi vien dietro, e guarda che non metti,
(74) ancor, li piedi ne la rena arsiccia;
(75) ma sempre al bosco tien li piedi stretti».

(76) Tacendo divenimmo là ’ve spiccia
(77) fuor de la selva un picciol fiumicello,
(78) lo cui rossore ancor mi raccapriccia.

(79) Quale del Bulicame esce ruscello
(80) che parton poi tra lor le peccatrici,
(81) tal per la rena giù sen giva quello.

(82) Lo fondo suo e ambo le pendici
(83) fatt’ era ’n pietra, e ’ margini dallato;
(84) per ch’io m’accorsi che ’l passo era lici.

(85) «Tra tutto l’altro ch’i’ t’ho dimostrato,
(86) poscia che noi intrammo per la porta
(87) lo cui sogliare a nessuno è negato,

(88) cosa non fu da li tuoi occhi scrota
(89) notabile com’ è ’l presente rio,
(90) che sovra sé tutte fiammelle ammorta».

(91) Queste parole fuor del duca mio;
(92) per ch’io ’l pregai che mi largisse ’l pasto
(93) di cui largito m’avëa il disio.

(94) «In mezzo mar siede un paese guasto»,
(95) diss’ elli allora, «che s’appella Creta,
(96) sotto ’l cui rege fu già ’l mondo casto.

(97) Una montagna v’è che già fu lieta
(98) d’acqua e di fronde, che si chiamò Ida;
(99) or è diserta come cosa vieta.

(100) Rëa la scelse già per cuna fida
(101) del suo figliuolo, e per celarlo meglio,
(102) quando piangea, vi facea far le grida.

(103) Dentro dal monte sta dritto un gran veglio,
(104) che tien volte le spalle inver’ Dammiata
(105) e Roma guarda come süo speglio.

(106) La sua testa è di fin oro formata,
(107) e puro argento son le braccia e ’l petto,
(108) poi è di rame infino a la forcata;

(109) da indi in giuso è tutto ferro eletto,
(110) salvo che ’l destro piede è terra cotta;
(111) e sta ’n su quel, più che ’n su l’altro, eretto.

(112) Ciascuna parte, fuor che l’oro, è rotta
(113) d’una fessura che lagrime goccia,
(114) le quali, accolte, fóran quella grotta.

(115) Lor corso in questa valle si diroccia;
(116) fanno Acheronte, Stige e Flegetonta;
(117) poi sen van giù per questa stretta doccia,

(118) infin, là ove più non si dismonta,
(119) fanno Cocito; e qual sia quello stagno
(120) tu lo vedrai, però qui non si conta».

(121) E io a lui: «Se ’l presente rigagno
(122) si diriva così dal nostro mondo,
(123) perché ci appar pur a questo vivagno?».

(124) Ed elli a me: «Tu sai che ’l loco è tondo;
(125) e tutto che tu sie venuto molto,
(126) pur a sinistra, giù calando al fondo,

(127) non se’ ancor per tutto ’l cerchio vòlto;
(128) per che, se cosa n’apparisce nova,
(129) non de’ addur maraviglia al tuo volto».

(130) E io ancor: «Maestro, ove si trova
(131) Flegetonta e Letè? ché de l’un taci,
(132) e l’altro di’ che si fa d’esta piova».

(133) «In tutte tue question certo mi piaci»,
(134) rispuose, «ma ’l bollor de l’acqua rossa
(135) dovea ben solver l’una che tu faci.

(136) Letè vedrai, ma fuor di questa fossa,
(137) là dove vanno l’anime a lavarsi
(138) quando la colpa pentuta è rimossa».

(139) Poi disse: «Omai è tempo da scostarsi
(140) dal bosco; fa che di retro a me vegne:
(141) li margini fan via, che non son arsi,

(142) e sopra loro ogne vapor si spegne».

Links to The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri:



Work Citied:

Alighieri, Dante, “The Inferno,” Trans. John Ciardi, Signet Classics, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, New York, 2009, Print.
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