Fear Of The Unknown In Dante's Inferno Analysis

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Fear of the Unknown in Dante’s Inferno All humans have fears. Common fears are those of threatening or dangerous subjects. All the most common fears have a face or a name: a fear of spiders, a fear of heights, or a fear of blood, for example. Perhaps the most important fear, though, is the fear that cannot be named. The greatest threat is a threat that cannot be anticipated. All humans have some fear of the unknown. Dante Alighieri’s Inferno brings into focus the innate human fear of the unknown or uncertain. Throughout Dante’s pilgrimage through hell, he comes face to face with these fears and, occasionally, overcomes his fears. These fears bring questions of Dante’s virtue and of his fate, both physical and spiritual. One distinct example of the pilgrim’s fear of the unknown can be found in Canto XVII, in which he and Virgil ride on the back of Geryon, the flying beast of fraud, down to the 8th circle of Hell, the circle of fraud. During the entirety of this trip, the mortal poet fears for his life. Considering his period, his …show more content…
This encounter occurs in the seventh circle of Hell, the circle reserved for sodomites. Dante’s work and thoughts were greatly inspired by this man, and now his soul is damned to eternity in Hell. If his mentor, whom he so greatly looked up to, could be a sinner, so too could Dante. The pilgrim asks Brunetto about the other sinners who he runs with. Brunetto responds, “In brief, let me tell you, all here were clerics and respected men of letters of great fame, all befouled in the world by one same sin.” (p. 443, Canto XVI, ln. 106-108). Dante realizes that one sin alone can damn him to eternity in the depths of Hell, running forever, just as it has damned his mentor whom he has learned so much from. Again, Dante realizes that his fate remains undetermined and

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