Upon meeting Dante in the zone of the sodomites, Brunetto Latini tries to convince him that he should
follow the path to earthly fame and glory.This is an especially tempting proposition for Dante, whose role
models have achieved that goal.The danger is that this would become his sole aim, and he would lose sight of
what should be the highest of human goals, the union with God in heaven.
The main point of Brunetto’s argument is to try and convince Dante that he should pursue fame on earth
and do it by means of poetry, not politics.He tells Dante to follow his “star…to reach a glorious port
(line 55/6).”He also says that “Heaven so favors you [Dante] (line 59),” by which he implies that he is
destined for success on earth, during the “happy life (line 57).”He urges Dante to stay out of politics by
referring to the politicians of Florence as a “malignant, thankless rabble (line 61)” as well as “greedy, envious,
and proud (line 68).”He encourages Dante to “stay untainted by their habits (line 69),” thus encouraging him to
avoid politics at all costs.He, like Farinata degli Uberti, tells of Dante’s future exile, but unlike Farinata,
Brunetto assures Dante that he can still achieve earthly fame.Not only that, but Brunetto also implies a certain
obligation on Dante’s part, for “Heaven’s favor” is his.
Temptation for Dante becomes a factor when Brunetto begins mentioning honor.With the line “Your
destiny reserves for you such honor…. (line 70)” Brunetto tells Dante that he is destined to have honor/fame.
One must remember, however, that the use of the word “honor” in the Inferno was used the most in the
description of the inhabitants of Limbo.It was these inhabitants, especially Homer, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, and
Virgil, that Dante most admires and was very honored to be made one of (the poets, that is, not a member of