Symbolism In Dante's Inferno

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What is the meaning of Virgil in the poem “Dante 's Inferno”? A simple guide through the realm of hell, a convenient piece of plot narrative to move the story along? Or perhaps the character of Virgil represents something more complex and difficult to define. Lets discus the role of Virgil and some of the symbolism and allegory that point to a more interesting and profound meaning for Virgil in Dante Alighieri 's poem “Dante 's Inferno

Dante Alighieri introduces Virgil in the latter half of the Inferno in Canto I(1). The poem begins with Dante the pilgrim in a dark wood and the symbolism begins immediately. Dante the pilgrim is lost in a “dark wood”(symbol for lack of reason) (Dante 1465), wandering about lost until he see 's a hill bathed
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Dante and Virgil come at last to the city of Dis, the entrance to the lower circles of hell. Vigil describes the city of Dis as “having great walls and fierce citizens”(Dante 1489) giving us an early warning that reason (Virgil) is aware that trying to rationalize god 's will is going to be very difficult. They approach the gate and Dante describes seeing “more then a thousand fiendish angles, -Screaming” (Dante 1489, line81-84). This shouting and cursing by the fiends (who embody evil) represent the noise and confusion of trying to understand gods will by reason when one should simple accept god 's justice on faith. Virgil (reason) goes to the gate to talk to the demons, reason is show here as trying to understand the divine order of evil. The representation of evil as demons in “Dante 's Inferno” allow us a symbol of evil and a way to place evil in god 's plan of cosmic justice. As Patrick Hunt remarks, “Dante’s monsters not only “show” connections to the supernatural in their polyform nature, graphically expressing their hybridity as harbingers of unseen divine power but also, like their Classical prototypes, are outworkings of divine justice” (Patrick Hunt page 2). Dante describes Virgil walking back “he stood there outside, then turned toward me and walked back very slowly with eyes downcast, all self-assurance now erased from his forehead” (Dante 1490, line114-117). Virgil 's eyes downcast and assurance gone, symbolize how reason has failed, all be it…show more content…
Using layers of meaning, Dante Alighieri paints the character of Virgil as reason using a complex system of symbolism and allegory. Using demons, darkness, fire, shining castles and hidden meanings to convey the difficult and complex ideal of understanding god 's plan and justice through the use of reason granted by that same god. He shows how reason alone is not enough to understand divine order, “Naturally this does not occur suddenly, as Teodolinda Barolini notes in Dante’s Poets, observing that Vergil does not lose his authority all at once, but in a more subtle fashion, step by step from the moment he enters the poem. When Vergil arrives, an hourglass is set, and the grains of sand fall one by one until, in Purgatorio XXX, the glass is empty. (202)” (Fiorentina Russo page 5) Dante Alighieri multilayered narrative is as beautiful as it is complex in its conveyance of

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