A Comparison Of The Divine Comedy Symbolism In Dante's Inferno

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When he began working on The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri likely had no idea that it would become widely regarded as one of the most graphic depictions of hell ever written. This epic, narrative, and satirical poem is written in the first person, and follows Dante as he loses his way in a forest and travels through the circles of Hell. Even in the present day it is still read in classrooms, as well as a video game and animated movie based on the epic poem. This epic poem has not only been iconic in the present day however, as many people after Dante’s death drew inspiration from his writings just as he drew inspiration from Christianity. Dante invokes elements of fantasy, history, symbolism, and religion all into one epic work. …show more content…
Inferno begins with Dante losing the “true path” on his way through a forest he is travelling through. (Dante 3). Virgil, the Roman poet then appears to him (Dante 6) and tells him that he will lead him through the circles of hell to find his beloved Beatrice (Dante 10). Virgil then proceeds to take Dante through the gates of Hell. (Dante 16-17). The first area they encounter is the Ante-Inferno. It is revealed to Dante that this is where the souls of those who could not commit themselves to either good or evil (Dante 20). These people must chase a black flag all day while hornets sting them. After being repulsed by this site, Charon, (ironically, the ferryman for Hades in classical mythology) takes them to the first circle (Dante 17). The first circle is known as limbo where pagans go, those who were born and died before Christ (Dante 21). He goes on to the second circle of hell reserved for those who committed the sin of lust (Dante 27). Those who have committed this sin swirl in a storm, as they were blown about by lust throughout their lives (Dante 26). In the third circle of hell lie those who committed gluttony (Dante 31). They are forced to live in filth and have human waste rained down upon them. (Dante 32). The fourth circle is reserved for people who are greedy (Dante 37). The fifth circle has the river Styx, where those who have committed the sin of wrath suffer (Dante 39-40). Virgil and …show more content…
The introduction to my book states, “The life of a medieval Florentine was marked from the cradle to the grave by religious ritual; time was told by canonical hours and the passing of the season was marked by religious holidays, saints’ days, and church processions.” (Bondanella XXVII). This is the environment Dante grew up around and would employ many elements of Christianity into his work. Most notably this being the concept of Hell, obviously. Dante also includes Judas in this book. Well known as the most infamous traitor to ever live, the man who betrayed Jesus Christ (Dante 176-177). This work also includes Lucifer who Virgil and Dante must climb over to get back to Earth (Dante 178). Lucifer, obviously being the Christian devil. Also according to the introduction in the book, one of the key themes of the Inferno is moral and ethical corruption of both church and society that come from wealth. (Bondanella XXVII-XXVIII). When Dante arrives in the circle of hell reserved for the greedy, he asks Virgil if he knows any of the souls who exist there. Virgil mentions that they are mostly religious leaders dwelling there (Dante 37). This is a commentary, as previously mentioned, on the corruption of the

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