Dante's Inferno Themes

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Literature be an extremely influential and useful tool in helping its audience to understand the implications of human nature and its sins. Examples of texts that achieve this feat are Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri and One Thousand and One Nights. Within both, human beings (or their afterlife counterparts found in Dante’s Inferno referred to as “shades”) experience various negative and often painful situations brought on by the sinful actions of individuals. Dante’s Inferno and One Thousand and One Nights contain parallel themes, such as infidelity and justice, which address the consequences of human imperfections and failure. Infidelity is a theme found throughout both Dante’s Inferno and One Thousand and One Nights. In the first text, Dante -the protagonist and narrator of the story- first happens upon the unfaithful in the Second Circle of Hell found in Canto V. These individuals are facing punishment for eternity due to their lustful nature as human beings (Alighieri Canto V). The consequences of acting upon their lustful urges result in the adulterers eternally being thrust into an:
“infernal storm, eternal in its rage, sweeps and drives the spirits [shades] with its blast: it whirls them, lashing them with punishment” (Canto V, lines 31-33).
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Despite the fact that treason is not always associated with infidelity, it is notable to point out that seeing as treason is an act of betrayal, the individual that committed treason has been unfaithful to some entity. Dante lists this as the last circle in Hell, suggesting that committing treason, and therefore infidelity, against any other being is the absolute worst action that an individual could perform in his or her lifetime. As punishment, the traitors are frozen in a lake of ice for all
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