Canto 18 of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri Essay

Canto 18 of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri Essay

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Canto 18 of The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

It was once said by Marcel Proust that “We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us…”. This journey through the wild to discover wisdom is exactly what transpires in The Inferno by Dante Alighieri. The Inferno is an epic poem that is the first section of a three-part poem called The Divine Comedy. The Inferno is about the narrator, Dante, traveling through the layers of Hell and learning about the men and women in Hell, and ultimately why God is punishing them there. One of the most representative parts of The Inferno as a whole is Canto 18. Canto 18 is the eighth circle of Hell called the “Malebolge”, which translated means “Evil-Pouches”. This is where “ordinary” fraud is punished. The Canto begins with a very detailed description of the Malebolge. Dante then visits the first of ten pouches located in the eighth circle. The first pouch holds panders and seducers who are being beaten by horned demons. While watching the sinners in this pouch, Dante recognizes two men. Virgil, the famous poet and Dante’s guide through Hell, then leads Dante into the second pouch where Flatterers are immersed in excrement. Here, in the second pouch Dante again recognizes two of the sinners, a man and woman, who are spending eternity covered in feces. Once Dante has seen the second pouch, Virgil leads him out because he has seen enough.

Initially, after reading Canto 18 for the first time, I was very much shocked at how Dante illustrates the entire scene. First, as I read about why the people Dante knew were in Hell, it really makes me think about ...


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...e last insight Fowlie provides me with is more background information to the figures he uses in examples of the sins. Fowlie says that Dante’s inclusion of Caccianemico is “an extreme case of pandering” (120). Fowlie believes the main purpose Dante uses Caccianemico is because Caccianemico is from Bologna, and he is lashing out against the city. Fowlie says Dante knows that Bologna is full of the “practice of pimping”; thus, Dante feels that Bologna is the perfect place for the sinner of pandering to originate from. I find this interesting because it is as if Dante has a grudge against Bologna and is attempting to ruin the city’s name. Overall, Fowlie’s discussion on Canto 18 reveals many new ideas and thoughts that improve my knowledge and understanding of the entire poem. The material stated in Fowlie’s discussion ultimately sheds new light on my Canto 18.

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