Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno has been renowned as a great classic of western literature. To completely understand the direction of the novel you must to read between the lines. There are many reasons as to why Dante gave his sinners such specific punishments. Most of these punishments were closely related or the opposite of the sins committed. Irony is seen in many ways throughout The Inferno. As Dante takes you through his version of Hell he uses imagery to describe each of his nine levels, it’s sinners, and their punishments.
The first time irony is seen in Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno is at the entrance to the underworld in circle three. This part of Hell holds the Gluttons and the chief sinner Cerberus. In life the Gluttons over indulged in almost everything. Their actions were grotesque, ugly and wasteful. Their actions in life eventually lead to their punishments in Hell. As their punishment the sinners were rained on by dirty rain, and garbage. The sinners also had to stand in worms that were decomposing their mess. The punishment that Dante gave them illustrates irony in more than one way. In life the sinners overindulged in everything, especially food. Therefore they will forever have to live in an environment with garbage and food all around them. Another way irony is seen is in the three headed dog, Cerberus. Cerberus was always eating and he was never satisfied which is an exact parallel to the sinners’ lives. Because Cerberus was never satisfied it was easy to see that he represented the sinner group of Gluttons.
Irony is also seen in the fourth circle. This level of hell is home to the Hoarders and the Squanderers. In life the Hoarders kept everything even if they no longer needed it. They wanted to keep things just for the sake of holding possession over it. However, they did not appreciate or cherish anything they held. They did not seem to have any sympathy for the less fortunate who hardly held the bare minimum. On the other hand the...
Cited: Dante, Alighieri. Dante,. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927. Print.
"Digital Dante: Students ' Work: Dante 's Inferno Creative and Cruel." Digital Dante: Students ' Work: Dante 's Inferno Creative and Cruel. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
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