Dante’s Inferno in Milton´s Paradise Lost

1326 Words Jul 10th, 2018 6 Pages
Many arguments have been made that Dante’s Inferno glimmers through here and there in Milton’s Paradise Lost. While at first glance the two poems seem quite drastically different in their portrayal of Hell, but scholars have made arguments that influence from Dante shines through Milton’s work as well as arguments refuting these claims. All of these arguments have their own merit and while there are instances where a Dantean influence can be seen throughout Paradise Lost, Milton’s progression of evil and Satan are quite different from Dante. Dante’s influence on Milton is noted by many scholars and is very apparent in several instances throughout Paradise Lost, however, Milton shows a progression of evil through his own vision of Satan and …show more content…
In his article, he discusses many of the authors previously mentioned such as Samuel, Hollander, and Gurteen, and develops his own ideas about Milton’s use of Dante’s form of punishments. He makes note of the fact that “when Satan returns to Hell after successfully tempting Eve…he hears a “universal hiss” as he and his crew transform into serpents” which “is clearly an allusion to that which the thieves undergo in Cantos 24 and 25 of Dante’s Inferno.”
Other scholars agree that there is some flicker of Dante through Paradise Lost but argue that, although there are instances where it seems clear of the influence, Milton and Dante’s versions of Hell and Satan are quite different.
In S. Humphreys Gurteen The Epic of The Fall of Man: A Comparative Study of Caedmon, Dante and Milton he says, “the influence of Dante’s strong imagination, however, is evident throughout Paradise Lost. It is not plagiarism, it is not imitation, it is the effect that must necessarily follow from the contact of one powerful imagination, strong intellect, and deeply erudite mind, on that of another, in many respects, his equal.” (Gurteen, 383) While he explores

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