Essay about Dante’s Version of Hell

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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.
Since I have the desire to maintain the validity of Dante’s version of hell in its entirety, I will explain the parts I found most intriguing, and why.
His use of incredible and descript wording was impressive. Dante narrates the vile stench in which groups of men were chained to the hard floors, and the
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Sometimes, the guards would throw a bucket of water over the stones to cleanse them; there were however, prisoners underneath the other prisoners and the water would wash all of the excrement and bodily fluids down through grates and drip onto the bodies of the standing prisoners who "dare not lie down and could not stand up" because of the vile filth on them and around their feet (Cantor). These are only a few descriptions of the various practices of cruelty.
The first sin that Dante describes is heresy. The penalty in the medieval era for heresy was often "public humiliation, imprisonment" or "to suffer death by burning." (Cantor). The punishment for the "arch heretics and those who followed them" was that they be "ensepulchered" and to have some "heated more, some less." (Alighieri). These red-hot sepulchers served as a punishment for the heretics, causing burns. The archheretics firmly believed that everything died with the body therefore there was no soul. So, they were punished with the hot and crowded pokers, but they were also punished with their beliefs and they were allowed to feel what it’s like to die eternally and lie and wait until the apocalypse. This punishment is one in that was more focused on inflicting a physical and bodily pain rather than a mental one.
Another sin whose punishment was administered with the full intention of causing great harm was flattery.
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