Dante's Inferno: Combining 13th Century beliefs with Great Literature

1670 Words 7 Pages
Since the beginnings of time, legions of people have all had their own interpretation of the “after-life”, and if there even is one. Many philosophies, religions, and individuals have all asked themselves the same question at one point or another: Is there a Heaven or a Hell? Where will my body go? Will my soul follow? Although there are many texts that strive to answer these questions, Dante’s Inferno is the only one that combines 13th century beliefs along with great literature.
Dante Alighieri lived in Florence, Italy throughout the late 13th century. During these times Christianity was the predominant religion. For those who followed the principles of Christianity like Dante did, the concept of Hell was very simple. Hell was a place
…show more content…
That passage from the Bible is an indication that shows that disregarding the word of God constitutes being sent into Hell.
In his narrative poem The Divine Comedy Volume 1: Inferno, Dante recounts the story of a Pilgrim’s journey through hell. Inferno is based on Dante’s own idea of what the after-life looks like and the matter in which it functions. As the Pilgrim sees it, Hell is subdivided into nine different “circles” which separate sinners by the nature of the indulgence they have committed along with its corresponding “contrapasso”, or form of punishment. The larger their sin is, the lower the level to which they are doomed to spend eternity. After reading the poem in its entirety, a reader discovers that Dante has made a spot in Hell for just about every type of sinner, even those who go against the mere thought of the after-life. While on his journey, the Pilgrim is guided by Virgil, the poet who wrote the Aeneid. Together they pass through the different circles of Hell observing the atrocious punishments that all the sinners are serving. Though some circles hold gluttons, and others house those filled with lust, there is one circle in particular which is home to those who chose to live their lives denying the existence of an after-life as it is explained in the Bible, the sixth circle. Dwelling in the sixth circle of Hell are the souls of “arch-heretics”. Heresy is an opinion at variance with the orthodox or accepted

Related Documents