Lust – Bowow-chicka-wow
The level of Lust is a health and safety nightmare. A sheet of fire has appeared along the path, which Statius, Virgil and Dante have to squeeze past, and Virgil tells Dante not to get distracted by looking into the flames, but Dante isn’t listening and is stunned to see people in there, singing ‘Summae Deus Clementiae’ which is either something to do with God being merciful, or they are asking for some mini oranges.
Then two groups of people come along, and briefly hug each other before running on, whilst shouting out examples of their lusty crimes, probably in the same way prisoners ask each other ‘So what are you in for?’ One group are shouting ‘Sodom, Gomorrah!’ as they were gay, and the other group shout ‘Pasiphaë enters the cow so that the bull may rush to mount her!’ as they are guilty of straight lustyness, which apparently makes them animals. However, Pasiphaë was a pretty unusual case to be comparing themselves to. The wife of King Minos, Posidon put a curse on her after he sent her husband a bull to magnificent sacrifice, and Minos thought ‘Dude, no. That’s like, a total waste’ and let the bull go amongst his herd. Posidon was really miffed as he wanted the respect only the killing of livestock gives, so made Pasiphaë lust after bulls. She got Daedalus to make her a wooden cow she could get in and trick a bull into having sex with her. She then ended up pregnant and gave birth to the minotaur, as you do. Later, she found out Minos was cheating on her, so as the daughter of Helios and being a dab hand at spells herself, she fixed it so he ejaculated nasty creatures that killed his lovers. Try explaining that one down the clinic, but I digress…
So, people are running about in the flames and being purified by the flames. Then they run into Guido Guinizzelli, a poet Dante was really into, so he starts gushing, and Guido gets a bit embarrassed and says ‘See that guy over there, he’s way more awesome than me’ and points out Daniel Arnaut, who was French, and we have a French section in the verse. From this the only conclusion I can draw is that poets are lusty types, and having the right words to get people into bed can come back and bite them later on.
The angel of chastity then appears, and says that have to pass through a wall of fire. Statius and Virgil are happy to do it as it aint no thing to them, of course, being dead already, but it takes them a while to convince Dante to get through it, like parents calling up to a child on a diving board who has frozen with fear. But he gets through it, and seeing some stone steps and the day being nearly over, he lays down and falls asleep. After all, he has climbed a mountain.
With all the levels of Purgatorio now being done. Dante is about to enter the land between the mountain and Paradise, so it’s wise to take a break, have a nap and some sandwiches.