The Role and Function of the Major Monsters in Dante’s Inferno

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In Dante’s Inferno, throughout the epic journey of the character Dante into the depth of Hell, he encounters a number of beasts and monsters as he passes along the way, especially through the seven stations of the greatest monsters of Hell. The most significant of these seven major monsters is of central importance to the character Dante’s journey as well as to the narrative, for these monsters not only challenge the presence of the character Dante in Hell, but they are also the important custodians of Hell. Moreover, some of them even have more particular duty to perform, apart from being the Hell guardians.

From this point, in this essay of Dante’s Inferno, the seven major monsters, namely Minos, Cerberus, Plutus, Minotaur, Centaurs, Harpies and Geryon, are examined for their role and function in the story.

In examination of Dante’s Inferno, I have found that all of these major monsters fulfill their vital role and function perfectly, and there are two substantial viewpoints concerning the involvement of the seven monsters. One viewpoint shows the monsters in their role of the custodians and tormentors of Hell which is a tool to create terrifying atmospheres of Hell. In other words, the narrator Dante presents the monsters as scary creatures for the character Dante, for he considers that this technique is significantly important for the development of the story. Another viewpoint shows the monsters as symbols which reinforce the narrator Dante’s narration, for these monsters directly reflect the human’s sins as they represent the concept of God’s retribution for classification of sins.

In Dante’s Inferno, the seven major monsters play very important parts to the character Dante throughout the entire story. There are num...

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...he Inferno or the story of Hell, another one being the symbols of human’s sins which reinforce the poet Dante’s allegory.

Additionally, as the story progresses, the seven major monsters represent that the degree of evil and torment of which the character Dante encounters gradually increase in accordance with the degree of sin, enabling the poet Dante to create more intense story.

Moreover, Dante, the narrator of the Inferno, has succeeded in not only telling the frightening story of the Inferno, but also pointing out the importance of the relationship between human’s sins and God’s retribution, using the monsters as the symbols for each kind of sin and its punishment throughout the progress of the story, which teaches his readers to be well aware of their sins through the literature – a part of humanities; the disciplines that teach a man to be a human.

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