Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy Essay example

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Hell in the divine Comedy and Aeneid In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Dante incorporates Virgil’s portrayal of Hades (In The Aeneid) into his poem, and similarities between the Inferno and Hades can be drawn, however Dante wasn’t attempting to duplicate Virgil’s works. Although the Hell depicted in Dante’s Inferno is essentially based on the literary construction of the underworld found in Virgil’s Aeneid, in their particulars the two kingdoms are quite different. Virgil’s underworld is largely undifferentiated, and Aeneas walks through it without taking any particular notice of the landscape or the quality of suffering that takes place among the dead. Aeneas’ first concern is with the fate of his friends, then with meeting his…show more content…
And Dread, and Hunger that sways men to crime. And sordid want – in shapes to affright the eves And Death and Toil and Death’s own brother, Sleep…(Fitzgerald, p.169) But once Aeneas gets past these figures, and the on rushing horde of the dead and dying at the boatman’s shore, the underworld turns out to be relatively calm and stable setting. There are some further similarities between Virgil’s and Dante’s hells, no doubt due to Dante’s close reading of the Latin and his wish to make Virgil his guide and mentor. For example, there are periodic challenges to the living as they walk through hell, and the boatman warns Virgil, “It breaks eternal law for the Stygian craft to carry living bodies.” Virgil also conceived the idea of separating the dead infants wail in one area, the falsely accused and condemned in another, the suicides in yet another. But all Virgil’s dead are condemned to the same hopeless fate, and it is only the memory of life which torments them. Conscious of this, Aeneas apologizes to Dido for deserting her at the behest of the gods; unfortunately, Dido repudiates him and joins Sychaeus, her former mate. A central concern of many of Aeneas encounters is whether or not the burial rituals have been carried out; the unburied are not even allowed to cross the River Styx, and those whose rituals have not been properly performed seem to

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