Dante's Contrapasso Analysis

1623 Words 6 Pages
Contrapasso in Inferno by Dante Alighieri as Illustration of Justice Dante Alighieri, who lived from 1265 to 1321, was one of the major Italian poet and political figures during the Middle Ages period. He is particularly famous for a piece of literature which later made a major impact on the development of the Italian literature and the world literature – Divine Comedy, which he composed during the final years of his life. Dante 's Divine Comedy belongs to the list of the most gorgeous pieces of writing ever introduced to the Western literature canon. It consists of three parts Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Heaven), each presenting a unique picture of life after death as imagined based on the established in the fourteenth …show more content…
Indeed, Inferno offers a vast field to work on in terms of literary and historical analysis; however, it also offers an ethical system the representation of which is construed with wit and ironic precision. Among many influential ideas on human afterlife as viewed in the paradigm of the Christian religion, Dante’s Inferno presents the idea of “contrapasso” - the form of just punishment. The neat structure of hell, as represented in Dante 's vision and discussed above, not only contributes to the order in the underground life, but also establishing justice by addressing each kind of sin exactly with the form of punishment which “fits the crime” (Burnett 91). In each of the nine circles of Hell, the sinners do not suffer alike – each suffering mirrors the wrongdoing they committed during their lives on earth. This concept alludes to the archaic Biblical idea of just punishment “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Burnett 91). The punishments for sins in Dante’s hell are imagined as to unveil the essence of the sin in the best way possible. For example, the suffering of those who could not calm the sinful desire of their flesh is described in the following …show more content…
I can say that every work of fiction has a certain age not the time which has passed since its publication or unveiling for general public, but the stage of life which the reader is going through. It is not uncommon that certain books speak to the readers of certain age. The literature is divided into age categories for this reason. However, there category of works of fiction destined to adult population is so varying that it needs classifying into many categories. Age is one of these categories: one may discard a piece in their twenties and fall in love with it completely in their fifties. Dante 's Divine Comedy is one of such complicated cases exactly. For the first time, I tried to get to know it in high school and I was not impressed, to say the least. As I grew a couple of years older, I believe I acquired necessary knowledge and necessary life experience to be able to appreciate this magnificent epic. Though, as it has been discussed previously, Divine Comedy in general and Inferno in particular offer a vast array of interpretations, I got particularly interested by the concept of “contrapasso”. A critic D. Graham Burnett noticed its comic nature which stems from the profound law of irony according to which the punishments for exercising of each vice is prescribed. The punishment mirrors the sin so precisely and so vividly that it illustrates the very nature of the sin more clearly than any

Related Documents