Sinner vs. the Sin in Dante's Divine Comedy Essay

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Sinner vs. the Sin in the Divine Comedy

Often when we set out to journey in ourselves, we come to places that surprise us with their strangeness. Expecting to see what is straightforward and acceptable, we suddenly run across the exceptions. Just as we as self‹examiners might encounter our inner demons, so does Dante the writer as he sets out to walk through his Inferno. Dante explains his universe - in terms physical, political, and spiritual - in the Divine Comedy. He also gives his readers a glimpse into his own perception of what constitutes sin. By portraying characters in specific ways, Dante the writer can shape what Dante the pilgrim feels about each sinner. Also, the reader can look deeper in the text and examine the
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By his noble speech the reader learns that political corruption can damn a man's soul. The punished sinners who suffered death for political reasons are of paramount importance to Dante. Accordingly, he shows in the suicide's circle of hell the extreme consequences of failure in political life. Pier committed suicide for the shame of losing his favored position as Frederick's counselor. This illustrates the ancient Roman concept of honorable suicide, which protests any unjust action that robs one of reputation.

Lines 58‹61 establish delle Vigne's high ranking position as faithful advisor to Frederick:

I am he who held both keys to Frederick's heart, locking, unlocking with so deft a touch that scarce another soul had any part in his most secret thoughts...

Dante shows delle Vigne to be a faithful man, that gave up both "sleep and life" to prove his dedication (l. 63). The force that ousted him was Envy, embodied in the men who were anxious to have his place. When Dante writes of envy, "who on Caesar's face/ keeps fixed forever her adulterous stare" he is using the concept of Caesar to show the political manifestation of the vice.

The noble speech given by Pier delle Vigne begins strained, as he speaks of his fall from grace in life. By line 72, the courtly style is finished and he can speak from the heart. He swears "by the new roots of this tree" that never was he once unfaithful to his "lord and emperor"
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