Dante's Voyage Through Hell

1501 Words7 Pages
The Inferno was written by Dante Alighieri around 1314 and depicts the poet’s imaginary journey through Hell. Dante spent his life traveling from court to court both lecturing and writing down his experiences. His Divine Comedy – the three-part epic poem consisting of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso (Hell, Purgatory and Heaven)– is generally regarded as one of the greatest poetic feats ever accomplished. All three parts are incredible literary feats with symbolism so complex and beautiful that scholars are still unraveling all the details today. However, this essay will focus on the first part of Dante’s work, Inferno, which consists of 34 cantos. Dante’s Inferno is a masterpiece of allegorical imagery where Virgil represents human reason, Beatrice love and hope, and Dante mankind on the journey of the human soul through life to reach salvation.

Dante Alighieri was an Italian philosopher and poet born in 1265. He married Gemma Donati, but was in love with another woman, Beatrice Portinari, who eventually became the backbone and inspiration for his Divine Comedy. Dante was an important political figure holding many posts among which one of the six priors that governed the city of Florence. Some argue that Dante was a power-thirsty politician who banished rivals for political gain, but in 1302, he too fell out of favor and was exiled forever. Dante’s exile had profound implications for the poet. His deep regret and anger at the injustice to which he felt he had been subjected translated into the most creative time of his life, the writing of the three part Divine Comedy. What is noteworthy is that throughout the epic many of Dante’s “rivals” appear as seducers, greedy, lustful, and overall completely immoral people.

The most ...

... middle of paper ...

...lvation when helped by love, hope, and of course faith. With Dante representing humanity on the journey of the human soul attempting to reach salvation, Virgil representing human reason, and Beatrice love and hope, the three characters come together allegorically to make Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy the masterpiece of imagery and symbolism that we understand and respect today.

Works Cited

"Dante's Inferno." HubPages. HubPages, 25 Apr. 2008. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
Fergusson, Francis. Dante. New York: Macmillan, 1966. Print.
Hendrickson, Kate. "Parrot Trick Training." UniversalJournal/AYJW. Universal Journal, 13 July 2003. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
"The Inferno Notes on the Human Reason Themes." BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
The Inferno. Trans. John Ciardi. New York: Mentor, 1954.
Wilson, A. N. Dante in Love. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Print.

More about Dante's Voyage Through Hell

Open Document