A Literary Review of Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno”
Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” is a narrative poem describing Dante’s journey through his perception of hell in search of salvation. Dante’s writing of this classic piece was greatly influenced by the politics in Florence during the late thirteenth century but the Inferno is much more than a political symbolic work of literature but is a beautifully poetic and allegorical. Inferno has made a memorable mark in European Literature as a great medieval poem written in vernacular language. Before Dante’s Inferno literary writings were almost all written in Latin, the language of the Catholic Church, but Dante used his native Tuscan dialect which helped unify the Italian language. Dante said his work to be a comedy but he didn’t mean it in a humorous sense but instead as a classical tragedy with a plot having a sad beginning but a happy ending. I think the comedy can relate to everyone in some way as it deals with the questions of humanity and the afterlife. The Divine comedy consists of a prologue and 33 cantos. Dante and Virgil enter the wide gates of hell and descend through nine circles. In each circle they witness sinners and their punishments for the sins they committed while living on earth. In Dante’s view torture is godly justice. In Canto IX the sinners are the heretics. Canto XI contains the sinners that have committed really bad fraudulent acts. Canto XXXIV contains the souls of the most evil sinners, the traitors to their benefactors. Throughout Dante’s writing symbols are used to represent the will of God and the punishments for the sinners were a reflection of the sin that they committed against God. Dante’s travels take you through different levels of hell searching for salvation. The imperfections and sins of humanity are shown using allegory and irony is used to demonstrate what the consequences are for the actions that the sinners have committed. It begins with Dante the Pilgrim walking in the woods...
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