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An Analysis of Dante's Inferno

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The encounter between Dante, the main character, and Filippo Argenti, a member of the condemned, deals with Dante's response to Argenti's place in hell, his disdain for Argenti, and his symbolic rejection of sin by his actions. Dante has no sympathy towards Argenti even though Argenti is condemned to stay in the slimy River of Styx until the Judgment. Dante holds great animosity towards Argenti carried on from conflicts they have had in life to the putrid circles of hell. The hostility Dante demonstrates marks his progression in his journey of purification. With his unprecedented denouncement of a sinner, Dante has proven his journey through hell has not been traveled in vain, but effectively to cleanse his sins from his soul.

Dante reacts with curses upon hearing the calling of Filippo Argenti. As Dante crosses the River of Styx on a boat with his guide, Virgil, Argenti cries out to Dante from the river for Argenti had recognized a live man on the boat. Upon identifying his partner in conversation, Dante changes his tone and curses Argenti. Dante says, "May you [Argenti] weep and wail to all eternity, for I know you, hell-dog, filthy as you are." Dante explicitly curses Argenti, inducing other sinners also condemned to the River of Styx to attack Argenti. As Argenti wails in response to the attack, Dante sails away and thanks God that "the loathsome spirit" is mangled.

Dante's actions display a great disdain for Argenti, which had been brought into hell from life on the world above. Dante curses Argenti with rage and strong resentment, obvious evidence that Dante and Argenti do not get along. Dante denounces Argenti and refers to him as a hell-dog. Dante has such immense contempt for Argenti that he refuses to even speak his name. In life, Dante and Argenti had been bitter political enemies, and Dante's sharp remarks are meant to insult Argenti and his political group. Dante took special measures to make his disdain for Argenti as clear as possible.

By denouncing a sinner, Argenti, for the first time, Dante has shown evidence of purification. Because denouncing a sinner is an acknowledgement of a sin, the sin is expelled. Thus, Dante purifies himself of being wrathful from his own soul by denouncing Argenti. Dante's journey through the first five circles of hell has hardened Dante's heart towards sinful men. The journey is effective in expelling sin from Dante's soul. It is apparent that Dante's journey is a journey towards purification.

Dante's confrontation with Argenti presents proof that Dante is making progress in his journey toward purity. It reveals a new side of Dante's personality, the conflict between him and Argenti, and about his journey through hell towards perfection. It is a highly significant passage in Dante's Inferno because it shows Dante's desire to reach heaven and also because it is one of few symbolic proofs that Dante is progressing towards his goal.

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