Punishment In Dante's Inferno

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As the first part of the epic poem Divine Comedy, the Inferno was written in the beginning of the fourteenth century by Dante Alighieri. Inferno describes the journey of its author through nine circles of Hell. For the whole duration of his journey, Dante is led by a poet Virgil, the representation of Human Reason who is familiar with many of the sinners in the underworld. Each circle in the epic poem illustrates a different type of sin with contrasting consequences, fluctuating according to the level of the felony committed on Earth. In the course of his journey, Dante begins to understand how the sinners’ punishments correlate with the crimes they committed against God. During the duration of the epic poem Inferno, the misguided actions sinners …show more content…
The sinners are separated into three rings within this circle due to different forms of violence: Violence against their neighbors, violence against themselves, and violence against God. For those who committed violence against their peers, the sinners are boiled in scorching blood just like how they stepped in blood on Earth. Alighieri uses this literary technique of connected God’s punishment to the crimes sinners committed in life. In this case, the sinners who were violent towards their neighbors are constantly reminded of their actions by constantly being in boiling blood in Hell. Moreover, the severity of the crime done by the sinners results in how deep they stand in the bloody river of Pythagorean. However, Dante lets his political views overpower his agreement with God’s Punishment when he believes that two most violent sinners were Guibilennes. Because Dante is a Guelph, he believes that these two men should be placed in the worst area of Hell rather than looking at this situation in a unbiased view like God does. Dante and Virgil move on to the second ring of the seventh circle called the violence against themselves. Though the reader may be bewildered by the punishment of these sinners at first, Alighieri makes it clear that God turns the sinners to trees as a result of those who deprived themselves of their own bodies on Earth. The reader can deduce that God …show more content…
In this circle, the poet meets blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers. Dante learns about a soul named Capaneus who constantly showed disdain towards God. Virgil explained the situation of Capaneus to Dante when stating, “‘O, Capaneus,/because your pride remains unquenched/you suffer greater punishment./In your own anger lies your agony,/a fitting torment for your rage.’” (Canto XIV) This quote emphasizes that Capaneus feelings and emotions ultimately steered him in the wrong direction. The last group of sinners Dante meets in this circle are sodomites and sinners. At the time, there was a great distinction between the action of adultery and sodomy. Sodomy is the commitment of sexual crimes that can include homosexuality. In Christian society, God strongly emphasizes the sin of this action stating that one is not a human if committed this offense. However, Dante disagrees with God’s punishment towards this men in this circle because of Dante’s political views. Like Dante, these three Sodomites were Guelphs who helped Dante on Earth. Dante truly starts to understand the connection between God’s punishment with the sinners crimes when he encounters the Usurers. The Usurers have their only identity in the coat-of-arms hanging from their necks, fastened loose enough so they themselves can see them. In this specific punishment, the faces of the Usurers all look the same

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