Evidence of Dante Alighieri’s Personal Quarrels in the Inferno

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Matthew William Johnson

History 241

Dr. Rutenberg

Evidence of Dante Alighieri’s Personal Quarrels in The Inferno

Success is the best revenge. Perhaps one of the best examples of this famous saying in history is Dante Alighieri. A prominent politician in 13th century Florence, Alighieri was exiled by Pope Boniface VII and the Black Guelph political party (Toynbee 98). Naturally, when Alighieri was exiled from his home country, he carried more than a few grudges and perceived slights against him. Luckily for history, Alighieri was not the kind of man to simply send a rude letter in the mail to Pope Boniface. He was the kind of man to write a 14,000 line epic poem would be so groundbreaking, controversial, and well written that it would transcend the barriers of language and time too get analyzed by college students 700 years later. The very angry Alighieri partially uses this masterpiece as a vehicle to vent his anger and permanently slander the names of his enemies. This is most apparent in the first part: Inferno, which is Italian for “Hell”. Unsurprisingly, the main character, Dante, runs into more than a few figures from Florentine history, some of which are cast in an unpleasant view. Some of the most straightforward slights in the book are against Filippo Argenti, a member of the Black Guelph party, and Pope Boniface VIII. “Who are you, who have become so brutally foul?” “You see me: I am one who weeps,” he answered. And I to him, “In weeping and sorrow remain, cursed soul—for I have seen through all that filth: I know you!”... After a little, I saw him endure Fierce mangling by the people of the mud--A sight I give God thanks and praises for” (Alighieri 63) From this quote, you would expect this mystery man to, at the very least, have burned down an orphanage on his way to kick somebody’s new dog. This horrible excuse for a human is identified in the text as Filippo Argenti, who is found in the 5th circle of Hell, where those with excessive...
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