English 3 Grey House
Imagine the unbearable torture, the insatiable thirst, the hunger pains that drive the soul insane; but worst of all the bone chilling cold that reminds the prisoner every second of the horrible acts they committed. This horrific scene is one mere depiction of Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece, Inferno. This book uses a first person point of view through the nine circles of Hell, with Dante Alighieri as the protagonist, showing almost a surreal account of how Hell actually functions. The symbolism used is truly what makes the book a masterpiece immortalized by time; every detail, every canto, every character symbolizes some moral or ideal of Dante’s, and the round of Judecca is where all these aspects climax. The narrative begins with ante-Inferno, an area of indecisiveness, but I will decisively focus on the ninth circle of Inferno, the realm of the traitors. The four frozen barren lands of Cocytus are: the round of Caïna for those treacherous to their kin; the round of Antenora for those treacherous to their homelands; the round of Ptolomea for those treacherous to their guests and hosts; and the round of Judecca for those treacherous to their masters. Even the names of the rounds show symbolism and allegories. Dante uses these literary devices to give significance to even the minutest details, as well as showing partisanship to his Italian culture and Catholicism. Cain is the first child ever born and he kills his younger brother. From Dante’s perspective, having a strong religious background, he regards this act as unspeakable treachery giving him and similar sinners their own subdivision of the ninth circle. He does similar acts with the rounds of Antenora and Ptolomea, each very famous and influential in history but with acts so treacherous that Dante made examples of them, their sins being forever remembered. Judecca, the most important round of them all, is the place where Satan himself resides. It...
Citations: 1. Brand, Peter; Pertile, Lino (1999). The Cambridge History of Italian Literature (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 63–64. ISBN 0-521-66622-8.
2. John Ciardi, Inferno, introduction, p. xi.
3. Leeming, David Adams (2005). The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. Oxford University Press. p. 347.
4. The place of Judas Iscariot in christology, Anthony Cane. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
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