Through the Depths of Hell

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Throughout his life, Dante Alighieri faced many hardships and accumulated many rivals, stemming from his association with the Florentine White Guelphs, who adamantly believed in the independence from the papacy. After being exiled from his home city of Florence on false allegations of being a grafter, he wrote The Inferno, a religious allegory, in which Alighieri blatantly attacks many of his rivals, among them Filippo Argenti and Bocca degli Abbati through use of literary devices as dialogue, imagery, juxtaposition, diction, tone and characterization. However, Alighieri does not show resentment towards all the sinners in his epic poem, he fluctuates between hostility and benevolence. In one specific case, Alighieri shows a sense of pity and compassion towards a specific sinner, one guilty of sodomy, Ser Brunetto Latino. Alighieri’s compassion derives from his great admiration for the fellow writer who had been a lifelong inspiration. His compassion is shown through the utilization of diction, dialogue, and imagery. Alighieri integrates many techniques in his writings to deliver his judgment of the sinners, fluctuating between feelings of hostility and benevolence.
Alighieri places Filippo Argenti in Circle Five, the Styx, among the wrathful souls; here is the first time that readers see Dante express such strong emotions of hate towards a sinner. These feelings displayed through his use of dialogue, juxtaposition, imagery, diction, and tone. Alighieri’s hatred is justified, as it is revealed that Argenti has been a longtime enemy who had played perhaps the most decisive role in Alighieri’s banishment from Florence. Dante encounters Argenti trying to board the skiff on which the poets were crossing the Styx, and upon recognition ...

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...lighieri describes Latino as “gentle” only builds upon the paternal, caring and kind nature of how Latino is depicted. As Dante finishes his lamentations, Dante tells of how Latino’s actions “strike my [Dante’s] heart,” conveying how deeply Dante is affected and moved my Latino.
After acknowledging how Alighieri treats all three sinners in various ways, it can be concluded that through his use of literary devices, Alighieri conveys either hostility or compassion towards the sinners. Alighieri either attacks political rivals, showing great hostility, or he raises those who he admires upon a pedestal, showing great compassion and warmth. Overall it is Alighieri’s creative writing through the use of literary devices that demonstrate a man’s willpower to overcome his most tried enemies in Hell, as well as parting with his greatest heroes.

Works Cited

Dante's Inferno

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