Essay 2 Dante s Inferno 1

Topics: Divine Comedy, Hell, Dante Alighieri Pages: 5 (736 words) Published: December 4, 2014


Literature of the Western World
Professor Mae Reggy
Define Allegory and Dante’s Inferno the Lesson of Love
Karen Monroe
October 28, 2014

Define Allegory and Dante’s Inferno the Lesson of Love

Define the Term Allegory
The meaning of allegory is a lengthy story which carries a deeper meaning below the surface.  The story has different levels of meaning that can be understood on a literal level but also is designed to have a deeper meaning. The deeper meaning can be spiritual, moral and or political. “An allegory (character, setting, or action) is one-dimensional: it stands for only one thing. Parables, fables and satires are all forms of allegory.  Famous allegories include: Dante's, Divine Comedy; Bunyan's, Pilgrim’s Progress; and C.S. Lewis’s, Chronicles of Narnia.” Dante Inferno the Lesson of Love

Dante’s inferno has many layers in the poem. This poem is a story about Dante’s difficult and unusual journey to the bowels of the earth and then up to the heights of Heaven. Dante’s Inferno contains many insights about his life, politics, and religious upbringing. Hell was divided into three circles of division Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Even though there were only three divisions each division wound up being three more divisions to total nine. While in the eight circle of hell Dante meets with those who when alive were considered sowers of dissension. Dante visits a host of different scenarios and characters, with his tour guide Virgil, representative of theological and political figures. In order to understand the correct ebb and flow of the poem noting the biblical point of view brings insight through the verse “Whoever does not love does not does not know God because God is love” (1 John 4:8 NIV) Though out the whole poem of Dante’s Inferno there are many allegories to discover. One allegory is Dante’s journey through hell allegorically speaking could mean every man’s downfalls and sins so-to-speak with the light represents a new beginning. The darkness of the woods can represent every man’s journey through confusion and blindness to their surrounding dangers in life’s lessons. While in the surrounding dangers the encounters that Dante has with the different types of animals means every man’s categorized sinful state of being. The leopard representing fraud or fraudulence. The lion has the connection with pride. While the she wolf seems to be very thin and hungry representing every type of greediness. All the while traveling through hell, Dante and Virgil continue toward each circle and it seems the further away from the ability to love. The first circle with the ability still to love. The second being punished for extremely loving much. Lastly the third not being able to love at all. Each of these levels are worse than the previous. The finale was the three heads of Satan and the people that were in them. These were each betrayers and represent treachery at its greatest level. Satan frozen in ice and crying all the while beating his wings and chewing on Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. The Wikipedia presents this as the inverted trinity. Brutus and Cassius were displayed with their head out of the mouth of Satan for betraying Julius Caesar. Judas Iscariot was head first being ripped to shreds by the claws of Satan. The allegory of Satan’s plight was that he said he would ascend above the throne of God yet in the end he descended to the lowest point of hell. Concluding at the end of the Dante’s journey and surviving Hell, Dante then progresses out of hell unharmed. Even though it is believed that Dante escapes unharmed he has been forever changed by the different tortures though out the poem. Dante’s climbs up into the light which may concluded that he has proven himself in some sort of way to be able to enter heaven. Dante finally sees the allegory of the spiritual kind that “Whoever does not love does not does not know God because God is love” (1 John 4:8...

Bibliography: Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno, LongFellow, Henry Wadsworth.
New York: Barnes and Noble Book, 2003
Bloom, Harold. Dante Bloom’s Major Poets, Broomall Chelsea
Publisher, 2001
Brittan, Simon. Poetry, Symbol, and Allegory, Charlottesville:
University of Virginia Press, 2003
David Damrosch and David L. Pike. The Longman Anthology of World
Literature, New York: Pearson Education, 2009
Google Search. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante 's_Satan, (accessed October 27, 2014)
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