In Dante’s Inferno, Dante is taken on a journey through hell. On this journey, Dane sees the many different forms of sins, and each with its own unique contrapasso, or counter-suffering. Each of these punishments reflects the sin of a person, usually offering some ironic way of suffering as a sort of revenge for breaking God’s law. As Dante wrote this work and developed the contrapassos, he allows himself to play God, deciding who is in hell and why they are there. He uses this opportunity to strike at his foes, placing them in the bowels of hell, saying that they have nothing to look forward to but the agony of suffering and the separation from God.
Each contrapasso is well thought out and devised to try to show that each sin is different, yet equally punishable in the afterlife. The contrapassos, and therefore the circles of hell, are placed in manner of a sin’s severity, or at least in Dante’s eyes. Sins of the flesh, animalistic sins, and sins of passion are not as harshly punished as sins of reason, calculation, and cruelty. Dante believes that human reasons separates man from beast, and to abuse such a gift from God warrants an unimaginable pain. Thus the deeper in hell you travel, the more thought out sins are punished and the less desirable the punishment.
Seeing as this work was written by Dante, and the journey is taken by Dante, he has a unique opportunity to judge his fellow man and decide how they will be punished. He also gets to place his enemies in hell, forever besmirching their names for generations to remember. Perhaps unknowing to Dante, that is worse than any of the punishments that he placed his enemies in. The reality of The Inferno is unlikely and therefore these punishments are nothing but a fictional insult, but generation after generation will read of the crimes, which Dante has illuminated, and punishments of these people, causing their names to be forever cursed and passed down as another evil sinner. So through his work, Dante has forever tarnished the names of his enemies, which is why crossing any author or poet is unwise.
Dante however proves himself to be a hypocrite and often reflects his own sins and hubris in his work. His guide throughout hell, and later purgatory, is none...