Sympathy And Punishments In Dante's Inferno By Dante Alighieri

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In Inferno by Dante Alighieri Dante travels through hell, guided by Virgil. Hell is divided by sin, with specific punishments for the different sins committed. Throughout the Inferno Dante the writer makes it clear that the punishments are designed to suit the sins committed. These punishments are cruel and violent punishments that are often times gruesome. Dante the writer wants the reader to feel nothing for these sinners suffering, since they are getting what they deserve. However, Dante the character is often seen throughout the book feeling sympathy and pity for the sinners in hell. Dante does this as a moral strategy to get the reader to feel what he wants them to feel. In having Dante the character show such humane emotions initially …show more content…
In this canto the diviners’ heavily distorted bodies have twisted necks with their tears strolling down their backside. Upon seeing these sinners in this state he says “I leaned my face upon the projecting stone/and let my tears flow down” (Dante Alighieri 73). The state in which Dante sees these sinners is so disturbing that it appeals to his human heart and he does not feel even an ounce of trepidation before he starts crying for these sinners. Dante being the only person to cry for these sinners is symbolic because he is the only living person in hell and is the most relatable character to all of the readers. Shortly after Dante begins to cry Virgil reprimands Dante for his tears saying " I see the fools still claim you for their own!/ Here piety lives when pity is truly dead. What is more wicked than spurning God 's command/ to heed the prompting a of one 's heart instead?" (73). Virgil reprimands Dante for crying for these sinners, who deserve their punishment. The readers, who by now have formed a connection with Dante are also reprimanded for their pity and sympathy towards these sinners. Virgil mentioning piety and God adds a backing to the reprimand. That is to say that most, if not all of the readers of this time were religious and would not even dare question God 's judgement. In the moment Dante cries out of pity for what they are going through, but after the reprimand both …show more content…
The reader, who relates to Dante sees Virgil 's reproaches and takes note of them, seeing the truth in them. Virgil reprimanding Dante, implies that Dante is wrong in his feelings and must then stop what he is doing wrong. As the cantos go progressing and Dante the character goes further and further into hell he starts to lose his sympathy towards the sinners in hell. The reader has by the end also lost his or her sympathy towards the sinners. This loss of sympathy can be attributed to them seeing Dante being reprimanded for his actions of pity, and they have learned to do the

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