Essay on The Beasts and Monsters in Dante's Inferno

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The Inferno is the first section of Dante's three-part poem, The Divine Comedy. Throughout Dante's epic journey into the depths of Inferno he encounters thirty monsters and five hybrid creatures. The most significant of these monsters are of central importance to his journey and to the narrative, as they not only challenge Dante's presence in Inferno, but are custodians of Hell, keeping in order or guarding the "perduta gente". In this essay I am concentrating on these prominent beasts, namely Minos, Cerberus, Plutus and Geryon, establishing why they feature in Dante's eschatological vision and discussing the sources which influenced his inclusion of these particular creatures. These four monsters all fulfil important functions as well …show more content…
This gastronomic theme is continued with Dante's description of him as "il gran vermo", creating the image of a worm gorging itself on food, but this is also connected with Satan himself, who is described as "il vermo reo che'l mondo fora" in Canto XXXIV.

Plutus, the next monster Dante encounters is also associated with thefigure of Satan due to his description of "il gran nemico", as herepresents greed which was seen as the source of all ills (2). Hisrepresentation of greed and avarice is strengthened by Virgil's rebuketo him,

Taci, maladetto lupo! (3)

As this associates Plutus with the She-wolf from Canto I who is correlated with one of the triple divisions of Hell, the sins of the disordered appetite, and this inherent connection with greed is marked by Plutus's function as guard of the avaricious and prodigal of the fourth circle.

Dante and Virgil meet Geryon when they need to descend to the 'malebolge'. He has a different purpose to the other monsters I have discussed as he is essential for the continuation of Dante's journey, providing the only transportation between the sins of violence in the seventh circle to the sins of fraud in the 'malebolge'. Geryon is the most intricately described of all the beasts in Inferno, which is

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