Theme Of Corruption In Dante's Inferno

1989 Words 8 Pages
When problems arise in religion and politics, corruption is often found within the issue. For example, in the 1300’s, respected leaders would sell offices of high rank to the highest bidder solely to make a profit. This practice happened frequently, which often lead to a self-serving leaders who made decisions that reflected upon their own self-interests and not for the greater good. This corrupt system upset many who wanted good for their society, including Dante Alighieri, who wrote the epic poem The Inferno. In the epic, Alighieri creates his own structure of Hell and names a protagonist after himself, Dante. Dante experiences all the horrors of Hell with his guide Virgil, who is portrayed as the symbol of human reason. This is not only …show more content…
Examples of characters that Alighieri is hostile towards are Filipo Argenti and Pope Nicholas III, and to prove this, Alighieri uses diction for both sinners, and in Pope Nicholas III’s case, he also uses the nature of his punishment. He is sympathetic, however, towards Pier De Vigne, and this is proven because of the inclusion of Vigne’s backstory and the interaction between Vigne, Dante, and Virgil.

Filippo Argenti is the first sinner in the epic poem to receive hostile treatment from Dante, and Alighieri displays this animosity through the use of an aggressive diction. Argenti is a sinner punished in Circle Five, and is submerged in the swampy marsh of the Styx, where the wrathful are tormented eternally for their hostile nature during their time on earth. Dante and Virgil come across Argenti as they travel across the marsh to reach Hell’s city, Dis. Argenti desperately asks Dante how he is in Hell if he lives. Dante finds this sinner to be disgusting, and shouts, “‘May you weep and wail to all eternity, for I know you, hell-dog, filthy as
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The Pope resides in the third pouch of Circle Eight with the rest of the simoniacs, or people who sell religious offices for a profit. The sinners are headfirst in holes cut out of stones, with their feet burning. The cruel irony of this punishment is that these holes are baptismal holes, which are sacred in the Catholic church, and Alighieri alters the baptismal holes by turning them into a vessel for a punishment. By doing this, he is corrupting something sacred, which is what the simoniacs did to the religious positions that they sold. What is special about Pope Nicholas III’s punishment is that his is worse than the other sinners. Dante notices this, and asks Virgil, “‘...who is that one in the fire who writhes and quivers more than all the others? From him the ruddy flames seem to leap higher’” (Canto XIX, lines 28-30). The “one in the fire” was a Pope during life, the man considered to have the word of God in the Catholic church, and a man regarded with the highest of respects. Even so, he is the one who “writhes and quivers more than the others”, meaning he is the worst of those who sold religious offices for a profit. The man who was considered to hold the keys to salvation in life is the one punished the most in Hell, which further proves the cruel irony of the punishment Alighieri bestowed upon him. The cruelty

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