Struggle of Pity Within the Inferno

Topics: Inferno, Francesca da Rimini, Love Pages: 4 (1382 words) Published: October 24, 2005
The Struggle of Pity
What is pity? Pity is simply the concern aroused by the misfortune or suffering of others. As the emotion of pity deepens, it can correlate itself with sympathy and lead to compassion (Baird 1). Dante comprises this idea of pity within the narration of his characters in the Inferno. Dante creates fluctuating moralities that contrasts with the narrative tale of the sinners to the protagonist. The contrasts that are made by the sinner are reflected upon by Dante, he refers to this as the struggle pity. The great struggle of pity is brought on upon by the sinners, whom create scapegoats to relieve blame from their own sins and to provoke pity from their audiences. Dante's sympathy towards the damned souls gradually changes as he progresses in his journey through hell. At first his actions of pity were through his own ignorance and lost sense of moral disposition. Dante is led by Virgil, through limbo and on to the second circle of hell, lust. Here is where the souls, condemned by lust spend eternity blowing in the squalling wind. Dante encounters Francesca da Polenta of Ravenna, whom is one of the first damned souls to attest Dante and his sense of pity. Dante's newly met curiosity encouraged Francesca to share her lustful tale in which secured her fate in hell. Francesca vividly tells Dante of her tragic tale, which ultimately ended in her and Paolo's lives. "Love brought us to one death" (V. 106). Francesca's sin is lust; she tries to remove guilt by deviating the blame from herself to ‘love', as the culprit. Francesca ultimately gives into her desires, which is her lust for Paolo. The love that Francesca and Paolo shared was not one out of romance, but one out of lustful desires. Although, Francesca has wronged, Dante feels sympathetic or pity upon her soul. "…Francesca, your torments/ make me weep for grief and pity" (V.116-117). Dante is captivated by Francesca's sorrowful tone in her story that he weeps in pity. Dante has in a sense...

Cited: Baird, Scott J. " The Role of Pity".1998. Funeral Ethics Association. 1 Aug. 2005.
Hollander, Robert, and Jean. Dante, The Inferno. New York: Anchor Books,
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