Essay on Inferno by Dante Alighieri

Essay on Inferno by Dante Alighieri

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“Inferno” by Dante Alighieri, written in the fourteenth century, is the first part of Dante’s epic poem, “Divine Comedy.” “Purgatorio” and “Paradiso” followed it. “Inferno” was an allegorical account of Dante as he descends through the nine levels of Hell with his guide, Roman poet Virgil. As Dante travels through the levels, or concentric rings of Hell, he begins to have a new understanding of religion and begins also to question his own morals and ethics. In the first few rings, Dante feels a large amount of pity for the tortured souls he sees. However, as he reaches the inner rings, he is less inclined to feel pity for the sinner souls, and eventually realizes that to feel pity for those in Hell is to demonstrate a lack of understanding. This is because divine justice is infinitely perfect and sinners receive punishment in proportion to their sins. The Sullen choke on mud, the Wrathful attack each other, the Gluttonous are forced to eat excrement, and so on. Dante refused to believe that every sinner is destined to suffer in the same Hell regardless of the severity of their sins. This highlights one of the major themes of “Inferno”: the idea that God’s justice is perfect. As harsh as it may seem, this punishment is completely deserved by the sinners.
Dante uses this poem to communicate the way in which he views human evil and how he classifies and judges each kind of evil. To achieve this classification and judgment, Dante uses strict doctrinal Christian values. In other words, the worst sins do not necessarily violate human happiness or harmony on Earth, but instead disrupt God’s will in Heaven. For example, Dante considers violence to be a lesser sin than fraud. This is because fraud more greatly opposes God’s will; God wa...


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...s. This is quite different from the popular conception of Satan during the Renaissance that can be seen in Giotto di Bondone’s painting, “The Last Judgment.” Giotto gives Satan a very dominant role in Hell and portrays him as very violent and gruesome. Dante’s “Inferno” changes the way that people think of and view Satan. For example, painters William Blake and Nardo di Cione depict Satan as he appears in “Inferno.” Dante greatly influenced both the Renaissance understanding of Satan and also Christian theology in general.
In conclusion, “Inferno” by Dante Alighieri is an allegorical epic poem that had a great impact on the Renaissance view of Hell and Christianity in general. This metaphorical narrative filled with symbolism and political commentary. This poem had an enormous impact on religion during the Renaissance as well as the way people thought in general.

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