Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy

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 Dante must then travel to the city of Dis to enter the sixth circle (Dante 43). The sixth circle contains heretics, the character of Farinata is mentioned (Dante 53). The seventh circle of hell contains those who committed violence. It has several rings, where the first ring houses those who did violence against others (Dante 61), and the second has those who committed violence against themselves, known as the suicides in the book. Those who committed suicide exist as trees in hell (Dante

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