Dante's Inferno Structure

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The Divine Comedy was written by Dante Alighieri of Florence, Italy, in the early 14th century. Dante wrote this epic poem which is broken down into three books: Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Dante’s Inferno was one of the great classics of Western literature, and it deals with the afterlife. It described Dante 's journey guided by his mentor Virgil, through the nine circles of Hell. The structure of Hell, according to Dante, is a funnel shape. It moves forward from the realm of the least offensive sinners to the realm of the most offensive sinners, so continuously increasing degree of evil and danger. Each sinner is punished according to the worst sin committed by that sinner, which is what placed that sinner in that layer. Instead of…show more content…
In this circle Dante the pilgrim, and his spiritual guide Virgil, saw for the first time the souls being punished for their sins. At the entrance there was the bestial Minos, who is the expert judge of the sins and places each sinner into the appropriate circle. After passing Minos, Dante find himself hearing “sounds of weeping” and “notes of anguish” (110, 25). He describes this place with no light, with black, internal storms. The wind would sweep and whirls the spirits with all the blast and never stop or slow down, as in life they felt themselves helpless in the tempests of passion. These condemned souls are the ones who sin in lust, the carnal sin. Some souls, described by the author, would look like flying cranes and they would form a stretching endless line in the sky flying up and down with shrinks and laments. After Dante the Pilgrim, heard some of the names of the famous knight and ladies from ancient times, he felt pity for these souls. When Dante saw two souls together in the winds lighter than the others he wanted to know their story. Francesca and Paulo (who was her brother-in-law), were lovers and they were killed by her husband while committing adultery. Their punishment is that they were killed together while committing sin, and now they are condemned always together in Hell, reminding each other of their sin all the time. When Dante heard the story of Francesca and…show more content…
There are no green leaves, but black in color. The Harpies nest here, feeding on the branches of the gnarled trees. Dante could hear the spirits cry and moan, but cannot see them. After breaking one small branch from a tree, recommended by Virgil, the tree started to bleed and complain. Dante realized that the trees were spirits who killed themselves in the previous life. He heard the story of Pier delle Vigne, and how an honest and loyal man in a moment of weakness took his life and now is condemned forever in Hell. Dante felt pity and sympathy for this soul and promise to bring justice to his name in upper world. The contrapasso in the woods of suicides is that, because they destroyed the bodies that they were given by God, exercised the violence against themselves, they were condemned without bodies in the afterlife and getting bitten by Harpies. The Harpies were winged creatures with the faces of women and were symbolic of the whirlwind or the violent storm. They stole anything; therefore, in the woods, they symbolize the violence of the suicide and the stealing away of his
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