How Dante Achieves a Synthesis Between Narrative and Cultural Elements in His Writing

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Introduction In this short paper, we will examine how if at all Dante achieve a synthesis between narrative and cultural elements derived from paganism and his intentions as a Christian author writing for a Christian audience. Medieval literature in general attempted to do this and Dante was no different with regard to this in his copying of Virgil and the Aeneid in their depictions of hell in pagan mythology. Analysis There are a host of specific examples from pagan mythology in the Inferno. For instance, in Canto 15, we see Dante leaving the wood of suicides. The people there do not have a chance to assume a new metamorphosis form due the heinousness of the crime of suicide (Aligheri and Lombardo 72). In Canto 14, we further see that the rivers Acheron, Styx and Phegethon from pagan mythology form the river system of hell that Dante encounters (ibid 70). Additionally, the lower parts of Hell are contained in the walls of the city of Dis and surrounded by the Stygian swamps (ibid 47). There are numerous other examples that could fill volumes. However, more importantly, one must see how the Inferno reflects, magnifies and channels this pagan mythology into a Christian epic that details the journey through hell. Ian Johnston feels that the question actually of if Dante provides an adequate logical defense of God's justice or not misses the point (Johnston). Dante's Inferno reflects the classical world in all of its details. This is why Dante provides a map of hell

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