Dante's Changing Attitude in Dante's Inferno

Topics: Francesca da Rimini, Inferno, Hell Pages: 3 (920 words) Published: September 15, 2013
Amy Tweedie
Week 3
“The Inferno”

“The Inferno” is an epic poem following the journey of Dante a mortal man who was guided through the many circles of Hell. Through his experiences he learns that divine retribution is pure justice of God; for all the punishment the tormented souls endure in Hell corresponds to whatever sins they have committed in life. Every circle in hell has an assigned punishment for the corresponding sinners within them. At the beginning of Dante’s journey he was horrified and felt pity and compassion toward the tortured souls he encountered. Through his journey Dante’s attitude changes from pity and compassion to ridiculing and wishing more punishment of divine retribution upon the sinners within the circles of hell. Through my essay I will discuss cantos V, VIII, and XXXII.

Dante’s journey began by meeting Virgil who is described throughout the story as Dante’s guide, master, teacher, protector and Lord. Virgil stated to Dante, “I think it well you follow me and I will be your guide and lead you forth through an eternal place.” “There you shall see the ancient spirits tried in endless pain,” (Canto I:105-110)

In Canto V Dante reaches the second circle of hell, the Carnal, and it is designated for the sinners who put their own passion and love for others before their love and passion of God. Dante felt sympathetic and pity for those who dwelled in this circle especially the spirits of Paolo and Francesca. Francesca told Dante how her and Paolo ended together, “Love led us to one death.” “In the depth of Hell,” (Canto V:103) both Francesca and Paolo were married and they had an affair and when Francesca’s husband found the two together he killed them both. The sin that they committed is adultery and so they spend eternity in a whirlwind of flight within the Carnal. Dante states, “Francesca, what you suffer here melts me to tears of pity and of pain.” (Canto V:113-114) Dante was so overwhelmed with compassion by this...
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