Canto 18 of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri Essay

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Canto 18 of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

It was once said by Marcel Proust that “We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us…”. This journey through the wild to discover wisdom is exactly what transpires in The Inferno by Dante Alighieri. The Inferno is an epic poem that is the first section of a three-part poem called The Divine Comedy. The Inferno is about the narrator, Dante, traveling through the layers of Hell and learning about the men and women in Hell, and ultimately why God is punishing them there. One of the most representative parts of The Inferno as a whole is Canto 18. Canto 18 is the
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Despite not reading all of The Inferno, the certain part I did read gave me a true illustration of the entire work. Particularly in Canto 18, readers observe Dante’s writing techniques as well as the main ideas or themes present in the work. Canto 18 is an especially excellent illustration of Dante as a visual poet and his imagery. For example, it begins with Dante describing Malebolge as “made of all stone the color of crude iron / as is the wall that makes it way around it. / Right in the middle of the evil field / is an abyss, a broad and yawning pit” (2-5). Dante continues in writing more of a unique description about the geography of Hell. His descriptiveness allows readers to feel and see the cold, crude iron surrounding Malebolge and see the huge pit in the middle, too. As when I read the description of the geography, Dante’s writing creates fear in me just as he does for other readers in all parts of The Inferno. Besides Dante’s visual poetry, he also includes very shocking imagery that affects all five of the senses. Canto 18 holds an excellent example of Dante’s imagery. At the end of the canto, Dante writes, “The ditch beneath / held people plunged in excrement that seemed / as if it had been poured from human privies” (112-114). These few lines are a wonderful portrayal of the extremely, shocking details he

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