The Inferno by Dante Allegheri: Fourfold Analysis

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The Thieves: Fourfold Analysis

To further interpret The Inferno, the Italian poet, Dante Allegheri, created a method called The Fourfold Analysis. This method involves analyzing the historical, moral, political, and spiritual effects of the topic. For example, Dante’s fourfold method helps the reader to further understand the thieves and their allegorical symbolism. The Thieves are found in the Seventh Pouch of the Eighth Circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, guarded by Cacus, a centaur. They are found with their hands tied up, being punished by snakes and lizards. The Thieves played a significant role in The Inferno, as they take up two entire cantos. The sight of the thieves in hell makes Dante’s “blood run cold with fright.” (Ciardi 197) At first glance, the actions of a thief seem to only affect 2 groups of people-the thief and the victim(s)-however, the effects include damage of community trust, personal costs, and continued separation between good and evil.
Historically, theft has been addressed by cultures since biblical times. Theft, a type of fraud, is the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another without violence. Theft differs from robbery and burglary. Robbery is a crime committed involving theft and violence. Burglary is entry into a building illegally with the intent of committing a crime. A thief that plays an important role in The Inferno is Vanni Fucci. Vanni Fucci is known for stealing holy objects from the church in Tuscany. During the time period of Dante’s Inferno, taking objects from the church was a costly sin. His punishment entails him being bit by a snake, turned into ashes, and restoring his human form. His crime is classified under a theft, as it did not involve violence.
When theft occurs, it affects a community and hits them hard, hence the rationale that Dante placed thieves in the eighth circle of hell. Politically, thieves corrupt communities. They teach people not to trust others. For example, almost everyone locks his or her doors. If people trusted each other and thieves did not exist, there would be no need to take precautionary measures such as locking doors. Citizens of a town with a history of stealing can never rest. They remain on alert making sure they are not the next victims of a theft.
The actions of thieves can be related to a slippery slope. They may start out by stealing something small, but nothing is keeping them from stealing something of more worth, so the tendency is to escalate their behaviors.

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