The Inferno Analysis

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I explored Canto XXXIV of Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno. This canto describes Dante’s and Virgil’s expedition into the last circle of hell, Cocytus. As well as detailing their interactions with a number of significantly important characters. Virgil leads Dante into the last circle of hell and they are immediately shaken by a great icy wind. They look over to see a massive horrid creature stirring up the windstorm by flapping it’s wings. Dante said “I did not die, and yet I lost life’s breath” (25), he was stunned and couldn’t believe his eyes. Virgil tells Dante that this is Lucifer otherwise known as Satan. Dante then provides an in-depth description of Satan. He has three faces, six bat-like wings, six eyes, sharp pronged teeth and many other gruesome qualities. Each one of his faces are different colors, one was “fiery red” (39), another “something between white and bile” (43) so yellow and the last one was “the color that find on those who live along the banks of the Nile” (45), which would be black. Dorothy L. Sayers, a renowned 19th century English writer stated that Lucifer’s’ three faces suggests his control over the three main human races. The red face symbolizes the Europeans, the black face represents the African people and yellow for the people of Asia. She along with many other writers claimed that the faces represent a distortion of the Holy Trinity, instead of the all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing …show more content…
Dante is quite confused, “I thought we moved toward held again” (81), but soon he realizes that they have left hell and are back in the real world. Dante and Virgil are now in the opposite hemisphere of the earth, it is now dark and they look up into the sky and see the stars. Several questions came into my head while reading this canto like, why did Dante portray Lucifer as he did? Do the stars and ice have a symbolic or deeper meaning? Lastly, why did Dante finish The Inferno like he

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