Political Allegories In Dante's Inferno

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Inferno is an allegory of the pilgrimage of the soul and Dante draws on the mythological dimensions to convey and express the spiritual journey that he is on. Dante construct of hell is his own and his judgement is reflected by the societal norms which were present during his time. Allegory, in the traditional definition is a story or poem that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. Allegorically, the journey which Dante goes on represent the journey of the soul to reaching spiritual enlightenment. The allegory used in Inferno is unique in the sense that there is mimetic realism even though there is a fantastical setting. Dante uses political allegories in order to reflect the society and fate of…show more content…
In the third circle of hell Dante and Virgil encounter Cerebus, the guardian for the circle of gluttons. The sin which is punished here is a sin which is performed in isolation. These gluttons in a sense worship food instead of God. In the real world, these sinners were surrounded by luxury and fine foods. Their punishment is now in reversal because they are now forced to eat the filth and mud and instead of being in comfortable homes, they now lie in the mud and rain. There seems to be an irony in the punishments which Dante administers and can provide symbolic retribution (Dante's Inferno: Themes and Sumbols and their Attraction to Modern Poets, 2013). The punishments which the souls experience are equal to those that they committed on earth. This also depicts Dante’s mimetic realism in which his judgement of ones sin is his societies and in turn reflects his truth. Gluttons are over indulgent figures who were greedy on earth and in return they will now endure an eternity of being indulged by God’s wrath (Dante's Inferno: Themes and Sumbols and their Attraction to Modern Poets, 2013). The irony which Dante uses in the punishments he inflicts on the souls seems like, to Dante, his way of restoring balance in society. The way in which Dante punishes the souls reflects his morals and himself as a Christian man (Dante's Inferno: Themes and Sumbols and their Attraction to Modern Poets, 2013). It also…show more content…
Up until Canto IX, Virgil has been able to talk his way into the various circles, despite Dante being human. His words have no value against those who had the guts to oppose Christ so Virgil’s words present no threat to them. This moment when the poets are refused entry shows how words alone, no longer have the ability to get them out of any situation. Words now are not enough to save one in the face of sin. The three female Furies have a threatening and fearful presence. Allegorically their appearance makes us conscious of the threat of sin. The threat of looking into their eyes shows how witnessing sin is dangerous and how the ‘perfect’ female nature is rendered perverse. Evil could appeal to Dante and the reader’s sympathies before but this circle is a playground for evil. The three female Furies show us that Dante’s truth and morals have no standing in Hell. Even though this is his construct of hell, he doesn’t have control over what happens. The sinners thus render the poets immobile. Manipulation can be seen as lying or twisting the truth and thus allegory and symbolism, in Inferno, although having the ability to depict truth, they also have the ability to alter ones

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