Dante’s descent into Hell in Inferno, the first part of his Divine Comedy, tells of the author’s experiences in Hades as he is guided through the abyss by the Roman author, Virgil. The text is broken into cantos that coincide with the different circles and sub-circles of Hell that Dante and Virgil witness and experience. Inferno is heavily influenced by classic Greek and Roman texts and Dante makes references to a myriad of characters, myths, and legends that take place in Virgil’s Aeneid, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Some of the most important references, however, are the most obvious ones that are easily overlooked simply because of the fact that they are so blatant. Dante is being escorted through Hell by the
Dante Alighieri must have been an extremely strict and lecture-loving parent. In the first part of his collection, The Inferno, Alighieri filled his story with subliminal messages within the text to teach a greater lesson to the reader. Dante Alighieri purposefully chooses specific moments to express humankind’s weakness and how human reason can positively influence people to react in the correct manner in the eyes of God. Through the interaction of two of his main characters, Dante, who represents mortality; and Virgil, who symbolizes sensibility; Alighieri is able to provide insight and guidance to the character of Dante in the story and more significantly, to the people reading it. Within this passage, Dante projects a common human quality of wanting to give up in the face of struggle. As Dante becomes too tired from escaping from his journey into the 7th Bolgia and begs Virgil to stop and rest for a minute, Virgil strictly chastises Dante that if he ever wants to achieve fame in his life, he must never give up his goals. In such a simple situation lies a grander message. Here, Dante represents the limitations of humans in the form of his exhaustion and Virgil’s response of both sternness and compassion reflects the logic and the understanding qualities of human reason. In The Inferno, Dante Alighieri uses the physical relationship between Dante and Virgil to illustrate the allegorical connection showing how human reason directly guides the decisions of the flawed human
Dante’s work Inferno is a vivid walkthrough the depths of hell and invokes much imagery, contemplation and feeling. Dante’s work beautifully constructs a full sensory depiction of hell and the souls he encounters along the journey. In many instances within the work the reader arrives at a crossroads for interpretation and discussion. Canto XI offers one such crux in which Dante asks the question of why there is a separation between the upper levels of hell and the lower levels of hell. By discussing the text, examining its implications and interpretations, conclusions can be drawn about why there is delineation between the upper and lower levels and the rationale behind the separation.
The idea of making up a "Hell", or inferno, is not an experience in which I, even in my wildest thoughts, had started to imagine. Call me an optimist, but the idea of imagining Hell never appealed to me. However, as I read through the Bible, I have come across many images of hell and will now attempt to create a partial picture.
Imagination is defined as, “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived by reality”(Merriam-Webster). In The Inferno Hell is just that, a creation of Dante’s imagination. By reading the epic a mental image of Hell is formed, but it can be viewed in various ways due to Hell never being wholly perceived by reality. The whole novel is never seen as less than real, but many of the events that occur are not life like. Having suicidal souls trapped in trees with Harpies eating them until they bleed is far from reality (Alighieri, 101). With an example of Dante’s imagination comes the concepts of art.
Dante is a poet who wrote an epic poem called The Divine Comedy. This epic poem is about Dante’s journey as he goes through 3 levels, which he calls Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. In the Inferno, he meets Virgil, his guide throughout his voyage. They both pass through the nine circles of Hell, where they witness many different punishments for those who have done awful things in their past. Good versus evil is a major theme that occurred throughout Hell. In the Inferno, there are times where Dante sees good and evil and also represents it himself.
The Inferno is a tale of cautionary advice. In each circle, Dante the pilgrim speaks to one of the shades that reside there and the readers learn how and why the damned have become the damned. As Dante learns from the mistakes of the damned, so do the readers. And as Dante feels the impacts of human suffering, so do the readers. Virgil constantly encourages Dante the pilgrim to learn why the shades are in Hell and what were their transgressions while on Earth. This work’s purpose is to educate the reader. The work’s assertions on the nature of human suffering are mostly admonition, with each shade teaching Dante the pilgrim and by extension the reader not to make the same mistakes. Dante views his journey through hell as a learning experience and that is why he made it out alive.
Symbolism can be utilized in diverse manners but remains a prominent aspect of life within most religions throughout the world. Out of ample differential symbolic numbers, Dante showcases the number three throughout the allegorical tale of his journey through hell. Dante bases Inferno upon the Christian idea of hell by using the religiously symbolic number three within his choice of poetic structure, the monsters displayed, and the associations of the number three in the Bible.
Around 1314, Dante Alighieri completed the Inferno, the first section of what would make up The Divine Comedy, a collection of three poems reflecting Dante’s imaginative journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. In these poems, Dante the poet describes the pilgrimage that Dante the pilgrim must complete to attain salvation. With the Roman poet Virgil as his guide, Dante the pilgrim must purge himself of his own sinful nature, which can only be achieved by observing and learning from those that have landed themselves in either Hell, Purgatory, or Heaven. Described in Inferno, his excursion begins in Hell where Dante learns about the stories and the sufferings of many sinners. As Dante the pilgrim progresses through Hell it is clear that he assumes different personas. In some instances, Dante the pilgrim is portrayed as an empathetic man who pities the sinners while on other occasions, Dante the pilgrim is portrayed as a callous and indignant being in regard to the sinners. While Dante the pilgrim is depicted in these two completely different ways, it is the insensitive portrayal that more precisely depicts Dante the pilgrim, as that is his true identity when he leaves Hell. His journey affected him so greatly that by the end of his pilgrimage, Dante the pilgrim has transformed from a compassionate man into an impervious and even cruel individual.
While every person has a different depiction of Hell, Dante provides fascinating imagery of his portrayal, so the reader can truly experience the
However, the sinners in the eighth circle of Hell must endure the torture countless times for sins that they had committed. The lion, she-wolf, and demons are the symbols of punishment. The more inner circles that Dante travelled through, the more brutal the symbols were. The road to redemption, as exemplified by these creatures, is horrendous. In addition to dark symbolism, Dante utilizes brutal imagery to exploit the idea that redemption is only obtained through punishment. In the fifth pouch of the eighth circle of Hell, Dante witnessed something unimaginable in the human
In The Inferno, Dante explores the ideas of Good and Evil. He expands on the possibilities of life and death, and he makes clear that consequences follow actions. Like a small generator moving a small wheel, Dante uses a single character to move through the entire of Hell's eternity. Yet, like a clock, that small wheel is pivotal in turning many, many others. This single character, Dante himself, reveals the most important abstract meaning in himself: A message to man; a warning about mankind's destiny. Through his adventures, Dante is able to reveal many global concepts of good and evil in humanity.
Journeys can be taken many ways. Some people take the path less traveled and some people take the easy way out. Dante happens to be on journey that is less traveled, by exploring the depths of Hell in the Inferno. The epic poem’s story is about self-realization and transformation. It sees Dante over coming many things to realize he is a completely different person from the start of the Inferno journey. Dante sees many things that help him gain courage in order to prove to himself and the reader that accepting change and gaining courage can help one to grow as a person and realize their full potential. After seeing people going through certain punishment Dante realizes that he must not seek pity on himself and others in order to fully realize his true potential.
In Dante’s Inferno, we followed Dante as he narrates his decent and observations of hell. A wonderful part of that depiction is his descriptions of the creative yet cruel punishments that each of the different sinners receive. This story is an integral part of literary history, and even if I were to have the imagination and ability of Dante Alighieri, I don’t believe I would change this tried and true version known universally.