wheels of flame

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Stephen Schmidt, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Stephen Schmidt

    Stephen Schmidt Senior Member

    Hi everyone,

    What is meant by the words in bold?

    From Inferno by Dante:
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    It is metaphorical: to burn with anger = to be filled with anger

    who had wheels of flame round his eyes, was stilled. = whose eyes expressed a deep anger.
  3. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Considering we are talking about a demon in hell, I take the description as being more literal. Earlier, Charon is described as having eyes like burning coals; here, those coals seem to have burst into flame. I would not be surprised if a demon should have literal fire coming out of his eyes.
  4. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    I'll stick with the metaphor.
    I think you can get an ointment for that... :D
  5. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    Dante wrote "around his eyes he had wheels of flames", and Dante is supposed to be describing what he saw. There's no reason to suppose it was a metaphor.
  6. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    He also wrote1:
    "Charon the demon, with the eyes of glede2,
    Beckoning to them, collects them all together,
    Beats with his oar whoever lags behind."

    It seems to me that Dante is keen on describing Charon's eyes and using metaphor to do it.

    1 Wordsworth's translation
    2 kite/hawk

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