Dante’s PARADISE, Canto 21: SATURN






Temperance planet

Planet of moderation

The mean between extremes


NOTE:One should not be temperate in some things. One is Love. Unconditional Love is not temperate. However, even though Beatrice’s beauty is not temperate — she becomes more and more beautiful the closer she rises to Paradise — she demonstrates temperance in how she handles her beauty. For example, she does not smile at me because she knows that if she were to smile, her beauty would blast me to ashes, the way that Semele was blasted to ashes when she asked Jupiter to reveal himself to her in all his glory. In ancient mythology, mortals cannot look at gods in all their glory and survive. This may be why the gods and goddesses so often disguise themselves as mortals when they come among Humankind. Temperance can be thought of as the mean between extremes. Too much courage makes one foolhardy. Too little courage makes one cowardly. The mean between these extremes makes one a brave person. But one cannot be temperate when it comes to adultery. One affair is one too many affairs.




Free eBooks by David Bruce (pdfs) (Includes Discussion Guides for Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise)


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