Allegories found in Dante’s Inferno
Dante’s view of history has been described as “both archaic and eschatological” (Davis). Eschatological meaning a theological science concerned with death, judgment, heaven, and hell. These topics prevail in Dante’s works, but more in the sense of allegorically representing the current turmoil in Italian politics.
In Dante’s journey through hell he unsurprisingly meets several politicians in the numerous circles of hell. He encounters three beasts at the advent of his travels; the she-wolf, the leopard, and the lion. These beasts represent different political ideologies, and the current state of Italy.
The she-wolf is widely associated directly with ...view middle of the document...
Pride is also considered the first sin. Excessively prideful noblemen and even the pope himself play into Dante’s portrayal of the Lion.
Dante encounters well-known citizens of Florence during his descent through the inferno, this isn’t surprising due to Dante’s animosity with the people of Florence (gilbert). He sees a political rival suffering in one of the circles, and Dante refuses to pity the tortured soul. To say it briefly Dante was exiled for being a particular political orientation that wasn’t in agreement with the current Pope Boniface VII (Gilbert). Dante’s ruthlessness when constructing punishments for his political adversaries are illustrated tremendously in the Inferno (Davis).
Throughout the Inferno we see Dante’s usage of contrapasso which means the crime – or in this case sin – matches the punishment. Circle one acts as Limbo where those who couldn’t have known Christ reside. Homer, Ovid, and Dante’s guide, Virgil reside here. The sins of incontinence are punished through circles two to five. They are sins of impulse brought by uncontrollable passion (Davis).
The second circle punishes the lustful by blowing the sinners violently back and forth by strong winds. The strong winds symbolize the restlessness of a person who is led by the desire for flesh (Gilbert). The third circle finds the gluttonous who are punished by being forced to lie in a vile slush produced by endless ran of ice (gilbert). The greedy are located in the fourth circle and are punished by having to lift great weights or rocks which symbolizes their selfish drive...