therefore not really perplexing.’
She gives us accordingly our choice of two interpretations, ‘ “each cries out on account of the second death which he is suffering,” and “each cries out for death to come a second time and ease him of his sufferings.”
Buti says: ‘Here one doubts what the author meant by the second death, and as for me I think he meant the last damnation, which shall be at the day of judgment, because they would wish through envy that it had already come, that they might have more companions, since the first death is the first damnation, when the soul parted from the body is condemned to the pains of hell for its sins.
The second is when, resuscitated at the judgment day, they shall be finally condemned, soul and body together. . . . . It may otherwise be understood as annihilation.’
Imola says, ‘Each would wish to die again, if he could, to put an end to his pain.
Do not hold with some who think that Dante
calls the second death the day of judgment,’ and then quotes a passage from St. Augustine
which favors that view.
Pietro di Dante
gives us four interpretations among which to choose, the first being that, ‘allegorically, depraved and vicious men are in a certain sense dead in reputation, and this is the first death; the second is that of the body.’
This we believe to be the true meaning.
himself, in a letter to the ‘most rascally (scelestissimis
) dwellers in Florence
,’ gives us the key: ‘but you, transgressors of the laws of God and man, whom the direful maw of cupidity hath enticed not unwilling to every crime, does not the terror of the second death
Their first death was in their sins, the second is what they may expect from the just vengeance of the Emperor Henry VII.
The world Dante
leads us through is that of his own