Dante's Inferno

Dante's Inferno

Length: 1172 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
1. The sin is excessive hoarding and excessive spending. The contrapasso is that they have to push heavy weights with their chests around in half circles. This represents the constant burden of material wealth held over these sinners during their lives. In this way, yes, the punishment fits the crime. (Gallagher)
2. Dante names no specific residents of Circle 4, but he notes that many of them are bald as they were the priests, popes, and cardinals who worked for the money and fame as opposed to for God.
3. A mythological creature found in Circle 4 is Pluto, but the text can also be interpreted to mean that it was Plutus. Pluto is a Greek ruler of the underworld and thus it would make sense that he would be found in Dante’s Hell. Plutus is the Roman god of wealth and thus it would make sense that he would be guarding those who were consumed by it in life. The text can be interpreted to mean that either is the guardian of the prodigal and avaricious. (Alford)
4. Excessive greed, both hoarding and spending, are both still very prominent in today’s world. One fictional character I feel would be found in Circle 4 is Ebenezer Scrooge. Of course, pre-A Christmas Carol Scrooge is who would be found in Circle 4, not the Scrooge after the events of Charles Dickens’ story. In the story, Scrooge becomes kind and generous, but before the story began he was a cold-hearted, self-absorbed wealth hoarder. He would never spend more than needed to live, would not spare a dime for someone in need, and only paid his employee, Bob Cratchit, as little as allowed. These are typical characteristics of a greedy man, and thus, Scrooge would fit in well with his fellow money hoarders of Circle 4. Many CEOs and celebrities are known for being greedy. One particular CEO known for his lavish spending is Mukesh Ambani. He is the chairman of Reliance Industries. He is the richest person in India and the second richest in Asia. He has a personal wealth of over $20 billion. His home in Mumbai, India is reported to be the most expensive home on Earth and requires over 600 staff members to maintain it. It is 400,000 square feet, has three helipads, a carpark, and 27 floors. It is estimated to have cost up to $2 billion. If this was not already enough of a display of Ambani’s greed, he built this home in a slum where thousands of impoverished people are suffering.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Dante's Inferno." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Dante's Inferno: The Levels of Hell

- Dante's Inferno: The Levels of Hell Level One According to Dante, there are various levels in hell. The first level in Hell is called Limbo. All the individuals who die before being baptized and those who live as virtuous pagans are condemned to spend the rest of eternity at this level. The people being referred to in this level are those who die before accepting Christianity. All the individuals who die non-Christians, including philosophers who typically do not associate themselves with any religion are going to be condemned to this level for eternity....   [tags: Dante's Inferno Essays]

Research Papers
1153 words (3.3 pages)

The Influence of Dante's Inferno Essay

- Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is an epic poem that begins with the Inferno. The Inferno is an extremely influential part of European literature. The structure of story is for many people a piece of the vision of Hell. Religiously, this poem has had great prevalence. Dante paints a picture of the Hell that is both unsettling and justifiable. A whole world is created through his poem. The levels and intensity of sin is pondered. Crime is put to a level of small to large scale. Those that are intentional and calculated are deemed more heinous than those that are out of passion....   [tags: Dante's Inferno Essays]

Research Papers
1374 words (3.9 pages)

The Violence of Dante's Inferno Essay

- In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno there is an abundant amount of violence shown in many ways. Literary critics say that violence does not appear in readings for its own sake, which is proven throughout The Inferno. As the levels of Hell increase, the severity of violence does so as well. This violence occurs in many ways, sometimes mentally, sometimes physically and many times both combined. Some people may not enjoy the book for its violence, however, the violence of Dante’s Inferno contributes to the dark theme and mood of the book, showing Alighieri’s meaning even more....   [tags: Dante's Inferno Essays]

Research Papers
663 words (1.9 pages)

The Contrapasso of Caiaphas in Dante's Inferno Essay

- In Canto XXIII of Dante's Inferno, the hypocrites, especially Caiaphas, provide an excellent example of Divine Justice as contrapasso. The hypocrites presented their ideas as pure and good, while in reality, they did not act according to their supposed morality or practice the virtues that they preached. Because in life, the hypocrites said one thing and did another, their heavy garments seem one thing and are, yet another. The ornate priestly robes worn by the hypocrites are beautiful and impressive on the outside, but are in reality leaden instruments of torture....   [tags: divine justice, dante's inferno, hypocrites]

Research Papers
536 words (1.5 pages)

Analysis of Dante's Inferno Essay example

- In Dante’s Inferno, Dante is taken on a journey through hell. On this journey, Dane sees the many different forms of sins, and each with its own unique contrapasso, or counter-suffering. Each of these punishments reflects the sin of a person, usually offering some ironic way of suffering as a sort of revenge for breaking God’s law. As Dante wrote this work and developed the contrapassos, he allows himself to play God, deciding who is in hell and why they are there. He uses this opportunity to strike at his foes, placing them in the bowels of hell, saying that they have nothing to look forward to but the agony of suffering and the separation from God....   [tags: Dante's Inferno Essays]

Research Papers
758 words (2.2 pages)

The Essay From Hell: Dante's Inferno

- In Alighieri Dante's Inferno, many different people were put in Hell for what Dante believes they did wrong. He assigns them to different sections of Hell for the severity of their sins in their previous life. If Dante were alive and making revisions to the Inferno today, he would put Superman, Brian Griffin from "Family Guy", Xerxes from "300", Scar from "The Lion King", Squidward Tentacles from "Spongebob Squarepants", for the various sins that they have committed in their past lives. Superman should go to the eternal flames for his violence against God....   [tags: Aighieri Dante, Inferno, Literary Analysis]

Research Papers
882 words (2.5 pages)

Dante's Inferno Essay

- At the start of the poem we find Dante in the dark forest(Inf. 1.2). Not much description is given maybe to show Dante’s disorientation. Whether the disorientation is spiritual, physical, moral or political; that is unclear at the start of the poem. The poem us written this way so reader can identify with Dante. It is also written in such a way that sometimes it is difficult to understand some parts, you sometimes have to read it backwards to get a better understanding. The way Dante characterizes the dark woods has a lot of ideas taken from various traditions....   [tags: Dante's Inferno Essays]

Research Papers
1433 words (4.1 pages)

Dante's Inferno: Dante's Journey Toward Enlightenment Essay

- Dante's Inferno: Dante's Journey Toward Enlightenment While reading Dante’s Inferno I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the journey of the protagonist and the belief system of the Buddhist religion. Dante believed we must understand sin before we can reject it, and Buddha believed that before we can reject sin, we must suffer also. Examining these two tenets side by side makes the similarities undeniably apparent; they both seem to be purporting the message that there cannot be pain without pleasure, truth without dishonesty or enlightenment with suffering....   [tags: Dante's Inferno]

Research Papers
851 words (2.4 pages)

Dante's Inferno Essay

- Summary 1. The sin is excessive hoarding and excessive spending. The contrapasso is that they have to push heavy weights with their chests around in half circles. This represents the constant burden of material wealth held over these sinners during their lives. In this way, yes, the punishment fits the crime. (Gallagher) 2. Dante names no specific residents of Circle 4, but he notes that many of them are bald as they were the priests, popes, and cardinals who worked for the money and fame as opposed to for God....   [tags: Dante, Inferno Essays]

Free Essays
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Dante's Inferno Essay example

- Dante's Inferno It was sometime in the middle of the 17th century that British cleric Thomas Fuller wrote, "He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil." If Fuller was right, where does one place Dante, the pilgrim who bravely wandered where no man had wandered before. Certainly, the sojourner precisely written by the poet of the same name was a man. Certainly, also, he repented his sinful ways (how could one not after braving not only the depths of Hell but later the stretches of Purgatory and the "many waters" of Heaven?), but he was no saint....   [tags: Dante Inferno Essays]

Research Papers
867 words (2.5 pages)

And believe it or not, Ambani has yet to actually move into this house because he is afraid it is “bad luck.” (Forbes)

Significant Quotations

1. Dante asks Virgil as they descend into Circle 4 about the suffering he has been exposed to, specifically who creates it:
"’Ah, Justice of God, who heaps up
such strange punishment and pain as I saw there?
And why do our sins so waste us?’” (Allegheri VII. 19-21)
Here, the centrality of God and the unusual punishment in Hell is recognized as an important part of the story. This is shown through Dante’s apostrophe of God, asking him why there is so much pain and suffering in Hell. He then asks why “our sins so waste us” referring to the way these sinners reside in the afterlife. This displays Dante’s realization that everything, even the bad things, was created by God. (Bruce)

2. Virgil and Dante make their way into Circle 4, when Dante immediately observes that this is a crowded circle:
“Here the sinners were more numerous than elsewhere,
and they, with great shouts, from opposite sides
were shoving burdens forward with their chests.

They crashed into each other, turned
and best retreat, shoving their loads and shouting:
‘Why do you hoard?’ or ‘Why do you squander?’

Thus they proceeded in their dismal round
on both sides toward the opposite point
taunting each other with the same refrain.

Once at that point, each group turned back
along its semi-circle to the next encounter.” (Allegheri VII. 25-35)

In this passage, the relationship between the two types of sinners in Circle 4 is shown. Avarice and prodigality are just extremes opposite each other, so both types of sinners are punished in Circle 4. Since their sin was related to the material world, as they either hoarded or squandered their material wealth, they are punished in Hell by the weights that they must physically push around. They can ever learn their lesson because the hoarders cannot understand the squanderers and the squanderers cannot understand the hoarders. This is an example of a part of Hell where part of the contrapasso is related to the sinner’s fellow sinners. Their disagreements prolong and increase their suffering. Even more is how the greedy rarely care about anything more than their wealth, and not other people, so it makes sense that they would be punished by being forced to spent eternity with their polar opposite. (Ciardi)

3. Dante asks Virgil why he cannot recognize any faces of the sinners in Circle 4, who were most likely wealthy and famous in life as they were greedy:
“And I: ‘Master, in such a crew as this
I ought to recognize at least a few
who were befouled by these offenses.’

And he to me: ‘You muster an empty thought.:
The undiscerning life that made them foul
now makes them hard to recognize.’” (Allegheri VII. 49-54)

These sinners have denied "the good of the intellect" by abusing their relationship with money. Therefore, the avaricious and prodigal have not only given up their spots in Heaven, but they have also lost their identities, since their faces have been made unrecognizable. A knowingly committed sin can result in giving up one’s identity. In other words, if a person that has complete control over committing a sin still commits it, they will lose their identity in Hell. (Lindskoog)

4. Dante asks Virgil for clarification on who, in a sense, “runs” everything. He wonders who holds the world’s possessions and Virgil answers.
"’Master,’ I said, ‘tell me more: this Fortune
whom you mention, who is she that holds
the world’s possessions tightly in her clutches?’

And he to me: ‘O foolish creatures,
what great ignorance besets you!
I’ll have you feed upon my judgment of her:

He whose wisdom transcends all
made the heavens and gave them guides,
so that all parts reflect on every part

in equal distribution of the light. Just so,
He ordained for worldly splendors
a general minister and guide

who shifts those worthless goods, from time to time,
from race to race, from one blood to another
beyond the intervention of human wit.
One people comes to rule, another languishes,
in keeping with her judgment,
as secret as a serpent hidden in the grass.

Your wisdom cannot stand against her.
She foresees, she judges, she maintains her reign,
as do the other heavenly powers.

Her mutability admits no rest.
Necessity compels her to be swift,
and frequent are the changes in men’s state.’” (Allegheri VII. 67-90)

For the first time since they were at the Gates of Hell, Virgil states that what happens with the divine often exceeds human comprehensibility. Fortune, or the apparently random shift of wealth and fame from one place to another, can "stand against the force" of man’s reason because she is one of God’s ministers. God’s "wisdom transcends everything,” even human intellect. Therefore, the fact that man cannot understand or predict Fortune’s actions is natural and understandable. (Raffa)

5. Virgil leads Dante towards the River Styx to cross into Circle 5:
"Fixed in the slime they say: ‘We were sullen
in the sweet air that in the sun rejoices,
filled as we were with slothful fumes.

‘Now we are sullen in black mire.’
This hymn they gurgle in their gullets,
for they cannot get a word out whole." (Allegheri VII. 121-126)

In life, the hoarders refused to engage in life’s joys by squandering their money, appreciating neither the "sweet air" nor the sun. They only spent what they needed to for survival. This passage from the end of Circle 4 is from when Virgil and Dante descend upon Circle 5 passing the River Styx; however, it is very applicable and relevant to the sinners of Circle 4. This shows how the circles seem to mold into one another, and enforces the idea that regardless of which circle a person is in, they are still in Hell and are related through that. (Gallagher)

Works Cited
Alford, Marcus. "Dante's Inferno." LordAlford. N.p., n.d. Web. February 2014.
Bruce, David. Dante’s Inferno: A Discussion Guide. Athens, Ohio: The Author, 2009. Web. February 2014.
Ciardi, John. The Inferno: Dante’s Immortal Drama of a Journey through Hell. New York, New York: Signet, 1954. Print.
Gallagher, Joseph. To Hell & Back with Dante. Liguori, Missouri: Triumph, 1995. Print.
Lindskoog, Kathryn. Inferno. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1997. Print.
"Mukesh Ambani." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. February 2014.
Raffa, Guy. “Dante’s Inferno.” Dante Worlds. University of Texas at Austin, 2007. Web. February 2014.

Return to 123HelpMe.com