Religious Conflict Of Dante 's Inferno

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Jessica Gay World Literature Dr. Schott 9 November 2014 Religious Conflict in Dante’s Inferno Critics Daniel Tompsett and Donald Winchester and literary scholar Nicole Rudick have argued that Dante’s Inferno is a dark and hopeless telling of how we are all relegated to sin and lack the will or righteousness to turn from sin and temptation. Tompsett and Winchester state that, “The placement of living figures in each section was a judgment and a condemnation, albeit subjective, on both history and the people he knew (Tompsett).” They both agree that Dante is painting a picture of the dredges of society and the torture that they must endure as a result of their inability to turn from sin. They also quote scholar David H. Higgins to say that “Dante arguably believed he was writing a gospel to convert his recalcitrant age (Tompsett).” Scholar and critic Nicole Rudick confirms this portrayal of dismal hopelessness with her comment, “Dante created a rigid view of good and evil, showing no mercy for those who did not repent during their lifetimes and sparing no one in his accounting of misdeeds, vice, immorality, and generally inappropriate comportment (Rudick 29).” It is my opinion that the aforementioned scholars and critics are missing Dante’s point. When I read the poem I am overcome with quite the opposite view. I believe that a better way to interpret Dante’s poem is to consider that he was asking each of us to reflect on our waywardness and sin and to come to the

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