Analysis Of Dante´S Inferno

2145 words - 9 pages

Dante’s Inferno is a very important piece of literature. There are many things to be learned from it, from the face value knowledge that Hell is a bad place, to a deeper understanding of how God intended us to live; but the most important lesson to be learned here is the power of allegory. Nancy Thuleen says this about it. “Dante's portrayal of Hell in the Inferno is an undisputed masterpiece of visual and allegorical imagery, enriched not only by extensive use of figurative language, but by concrete physical descriptions as well” Dante had allegory down to a science, and applied it to every aspect of his Inferno. If you are looking for it, you will notice that everything in the poem is ...view middle of the document...

(pg.73)” In life, these sinners were at one extreme interpretation of material things, and in death these two extremes punish each other until the end of time.
Next, the sixth circle of hell is one of my favorite parts of Dante’s Inferno because of how well the punishment reciprocates the sin. This circle is the first inside the walls of the City of Dis, home of Lower Hell. The sixth circle is hot and fiery, due to the nature of the punishment. Here, heretics, those who deny God, are dealt with by being placed in burning tombs. Doug Beaumont will detail the punishment. “One translation has these called “burning arks” – fascinating as the Church has been considered the saving Ark since ancient times. Missing out on the Ark of salvation they now burn in arks of damnation. The tombs are open now, revealing the flames inside. We are told that after the resurrection these souls will be reunited to their bodies and then sealed in these tombs forever. Terrifying.” Where is the allegory in this punishment? It is understandable to say that being in a box that’s on fire forever sucks, but what makes it suck even worse for these sinners? Dante puts it like this. “All shall be sealed forever on the day these souls return here from Jehosaphat with the bodies they have given once to clay. (pg. 96)” What that means is that Dante is giving these sinners what they wanted. They denied God in life, so when Jesus comes again to lead all souls to heaven, God will deny them right back. Instead of being freed like most other souls will be when returned their bodies, the heretics will be given their bodies back and have the lid shut. This is so perfect it is awesome.
Lastly, the third bolgia of circle eight is one of my favorite parts of Dante’s Inferno because of how well the punishment reciprocates the sin. This part of Inferno is the third ditch of the Malebolgia. Each ring inward represents sins of ascending severity. This bolgia isn’t the worst in circle eight, but it is my favorite of them nonetheless. The scenery here consists of a ditch riddled with cylindrical holes spouting flames. The sinners here are guilty of simony, the act of buying or selling religious services. This was a huge issue at the time of writing of Inferno, and Dante addressed it well. Julie Renee Phelan will detail their punishment. This bolgia is lined with round tube-like holes and sinners are placed in them upside down with the soles of their feet ablaze. “This bolgia is lined with round tube-like holes and sinners are placed in them upside down with the soles of their feet ablaze.” Seems like a strange punishment, doesn’t it? Well, as it turns out, this is an allegorical masterpiece. The sinners here made a mockery of religion, and in the afterlife they are inversely made a mockery of. These tubes the sinners lie in are similar to baptismal fonts, but instead of holy water, these sinners are submerged in flame. Here is Dante’s ever so subtle statement about the relation. “They seemed to...

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