Analysis Of The 24th Canto Of Dante's Inferno

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In the 24th canto of Dante’s “Inferno”, we see how Dante depicts forgiveness and the idea keeping an excellent mindset through troubling times by enlisting an epic simile. “The peasants who lack fodder then arise and look about and see the fields all white… go back to the house, walk here and here, pacing, fretting, wondering what to do… I saw my masters eyebrows lower, and my spirits fell and I was sorely vexed”. This quotation compares Virgil to a humble farmer: both are stumped by a seemingly impossible problem to conquer, are both mad that it’s happening and also that no matter what they can’t overcome it. However, both stories continue, “Despair falls from them when they see how the earth’s face has changed in in so little time… he stood and turned on me that sweet and open look”. We see that, like how the farmer is pleased to see that winter has finished so he can feed his herd, Virgil has seen that there is another way down. This simile that shows forgiveness is an important and underlying theme through the entire comedy. Had all of these people repented and asked forgiveness while still in their mortal life then they would have to suffer tar pits or hands bound by snakes. This is also a subliminal message to those that read it that he should no longer be banished from Florence. Dante also relates how sins are punishable by the act that was committed. He does this through an allegory by saying things such as, “Their hands were bound behind by coils of serpents...A great snake shot up and bit him where the neck joins with the shoulder.” The snake in this canto depicts a couple things: The guilt that the thieves lived with from either stealing from the wrong person or hurting someone, always running and being bound by fear of being caught and the punishments that come back to get them. The snakes that bind their wrists and feet represent their emotions. While some certainly didn't care about their actions others were tormented by what they had done, be it from stealing from someone that didn't deserve it or being in the position where it was kill or be killed. The sneaky snake that jumps out and grabs the guy can represent the punishment they escaped catching back up with them.
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