The Irony Of The Sinner

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While traveling through Hell, Dante the pilgrim encountered numerous sinners on each level, all prepared to tell their tales of misfortune and transgression. However, though some ask Dante to remember them or tell their stories on Earth, most of them speak for their own gain, not simply to educate Dante on the penalties of their sins. Each sinner appears to wallow in the past, isolating themselves in their sin and occasionally ignoring Dante as a person entirely. Even when these sinners find themselves physically trapped together with another soul, they remain lonely and miserable in their suffering: they have deprived themselves of the forgiveness and love God offered them and now must find something else to love. As they have rejected God, these sinners still seek to fill that void of emptiness to which they have forever condemned themselves. In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the irony of the sinner’s contrappaso reflects the irony that, even in the suffering they have brought upon themselves, they have a misplaced love in their sin in place of the love God offered them.
In Canto V, Dante encounters the Francesca and Paulo, who have thrown away their chance for heaven for one another, yet enjoyed the action of sinning itself more then each other’s company. As soon as Dante the pilgrim comes upon the pair, Francesca relates the tale of their sin, explaining how “this one, who never shall be parted from me, while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth….that day we read no

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