Dante's Inferno and The Afterlife Essay

Dante's Inferno and The Afterlife Essay

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For centuries humans have been drawing parallels to help explain or understand different concepts. These parallels, or allegories, tell a simple story and their purpose is to use another point of view to help guide individuals into the correct line of thought. “The only stable element in a literary work is its words, which if one knows the language in which it is written, have a meaning. The significance of that meaning is what may be called allegory.”(Bloomfield) As Bloomfield stated, it is only how we interpret the words in an allegory that matters, each person can interpreted it in a slightly different way and allegories are most often personalized by a reader. Dante’s Inferno allegory is present throughout the entire poem. From the dark wood to the depths of Dante’s hell he presents the different crimes committed in life as they could be punished in death.
One of the first punishments we observe comes from the fifth circle of Dante’s hell, the wrathful and the sullen, as the author expresses his thoughts of the fitting consequence with each sin. This portion of the text begins in the seventh canto and in it the punishment of those who lived in wrath are discussed, when Dante and Virgil first enter the circle they see a marsh containing people who endlessly beat upon each other the idea being that because they lived their lives in wrath they will live out their eternity with pure hatred for any soul they may encounter. Also addressed in this circle is the punishment for those who lived their life in a sullen manner, ignoring the goodness that the world around them contained. “‘Sullen were we in the air made sweet by the sun; in the glory or his shinning our hearts poured a bitter smoke. Sullen we begun; sullen we lie forever i...


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...l be like, or even if there will be such a place after this life, but if there is, it is very possible that the threat of eternal punishment can be great encouragement to do what is right and what is morally proper.



Works Cited

Bavota, C. "Weblog post." Literary Devises. N.p., 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2013. . second
Benjamin, Walter. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Trans. John Osborne. London: n.p., 1998. Print. fourth
Bloomfield, Morton W. New Literary History. Winter ed. N.p.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972. Print. Vol. 2 of Allegory as Interpretation. 3 vols. First.
Disraeli, Benjamin. Vivian Grey. New York: n.p., 1906. Print. Fifth
The Editors of The Encyclopædia Britannica, ed. "Allegory." The Encyclopædia Britannica. N.p., 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. . third

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