Comparing The Underworlds In Dante’s Inferno And The Odyssey

2212 words - 9 pages

Dante’s Inferno is a narrative poem, with a very complicated rhyme scheme, originally written in Italian. It documents the author’s, Dante, trip through hell, where he learns how hell is organized and the way in which sinners are punished. Dante is guided by the great poet Virgil, who leads him throughout hell. The Odyssey, is an epic authored by the Greek, Homer. The epics centers on Odysseus’ protracted journey home. The protagonist, Odysseus, visits the underworld for a very short amount of time. The two literary works contain many common elements, such as characters being punished, the protagonists interacting with those in the underworld, repeating characters, and the misery of the underworlds. There are also differences between the two works including the types of interactions between the protagonists and those they encounter, the reasons for each protagonists visit to the underworlds, and how the underworld operates. These differences and similarities can be attributed the Dante’s and Homer’s religion, the time period and culture in which they wrote their respective works, and the purpose for the visits to the underworlds in each work. Although there are many similarities between the underworlds in Dante’s Inferno and The Odyssey, the two works ultimately offer two different visions of the underworld due to the authors’ different religious beliefs and culture, as well as the role of the underworld in each literary work.
The vision of the underworld portrayed in Dante’s Inferno and The Odyssey share many similarities. Both Dante and Odysseus confidently travel to the underworld because a woman, with whom they have had an intimate instructs them to. In The Odyssey, Circe instructs Odysseus to “make [his] own way down to the moldering House of Death” (246). In the Inferno, Dante feels trepidation about his journey and doesn’t feel worthy as he states, “But why should I go there? who allows it?/ I am not Aeneas, nor am I Paul./ Neither I nor any think me fit for this.” (Canto II: 31-33). His nerves are eased when Virgil tells him that he was sent by Beatrice, Dante’s love. “I who bid you go am Beatrice./I come from where I most desire to return. The love that moved me makes me speak.”(Canto II: 70-72). Odysseus has a very sexual relationship with Circe. While Beatrice and Dante do not have sexual relationship, Beatrice is his love. Minos, Zeus’ son and the king of the underworld, judges and decides the fate of all those that enter hell and the House of Death, in both Dante’s Inferno and The Odyssey, respectively. In The Odyssey, Minos is described as, “firmly enthroned, holding his golden scepter, judging all the dead….” (268). Similarily in Dante’s Inferno, Minos is an “accomplished judge of sins/decides what place in Hell is fit for it” (Canto V: 9-10). Both Odysseus and Dante have encounters with relatives while visiting the underworlds, although Dante does not speak with his family member. Odysseus’ mother is...

Find Another Essay On Comparing the Underworlds in Dante’s Inferno and The Odyssey

Divine Comedy - Indignation and Sin in Dante’s Inferno

1357 words - 5 pages Righteous Indignation and the Sin of Intemperate Anger in the Inferno   Allora stese al legno ambo le mani; per che 'l maestro accorto lo sospininse dicendo: 'Via costà con li altri cani!'   Then he reached out to the boat with both hands; on which the wary Master thrust him off, saying: "Away there with the other dogs!"   Dante's and Virgil's scorn seems at first glance to echo the sin of intemperate

An analysis of 3of the best punishments from Dante’s Inferno

880 words - 4 pages In Dante’s Inferno, Dante travels through nine circles of hell. “Dante's Inferno, widely hailed as one of the great classics of Western literature, details Dante's journey through the nine circles of Hell.” (Miller) Dante tells us that you don’t go to Hell because you’ve sinned; you go to Hell because you didn’t repent for your sins. In each circle, there are different types of sinners and punishments for each sin. The punishments can be

Comparing the Odyssey and Medea

1527 words - 6 pages While home is usually represented by a physical shelter such as a house, Homer and Euripides in their respective novels The Odyssey and Medea show that home has much more significance as a state where one can comfortably express the values and beliefs that define one’s identity. Both authors use protagonists who are far away from home. These characters often associate with and depend upon other characters they meet. Since they live under the

Spiritual Growth in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Odyssey, and Dante's Inferno

2026 words - 8 pages For centuries, authors have been writing stories about man's journey of self-discovery. Spanning almost three-thousand years, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Odyssey, and Dante's Inferno are three stories where a journey of self-discovery is central to the plot. The main characters, Gilgamesh, Telemachus, and Dante, respectively, find themselves making a journey that ultimately changes them for the better. The journeys may not be

Divine Comedy - Autobiographical Journey in Dante’s Inferno

626 words - 3 pages Dante’s Inferno - Autobiographical Journey   The Inferno is more than just a fictional story about someone traveling through the universe. It is actually more like an autobiographical journey of life through its author, Dante Alighieri’s eyes. Written in the early 1300s by a disgruntled Dante living in exile, he literally describes a man who has been trapped, and must find a way to escape. Allegorically, he’s telling us about

Violent Again Art in Dante’s Inferno

2101 words - 8 pages Christian, their intellects are blind because they tried to fly without the help of God. Dante, on the other hand, claims that he descends into hell only because Beatrice, Lucia, and Mary said that he should. Virgil asks Dante near the beginning of the Inferno, "Why do you lag? Why this heartsick hesitation and pale fright when three such blessed Ladies lean from heaven in their concern for you…" (II, 119-122). Dante’s mind "presumes to flight" because

Comparing the Aeneid and the Odyssey

2917 words - 12 pages   Both the Odyssey and the Aeneid represent their cultures very well, but they express different ideas on what one should strive for in life.  There are also different forces that pushed both epics to be written.  The Aeneid expresses the Roman idea of pietas which means to show extreme respect for one’s ancestors. We see this in Aeneas when he is pictured caring his father away from burning Troy.  He has pietas because he cared so much for

Divine Comedy - Dante and Virgil's Relationship in Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno

842 words - 3 pages Dante and Virgil's Relationship in Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno In Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno, Virgil describes the statue of the Old Man of Crete. Dante uses the Old Man of Crete as a metaphor for Virgil’s legacy in order to elucidate the nature of Dante’s and Virgil’s relationship. In the beginning of the metaphor, Dante carefully and methodically illustrates the grandeur of the Greek empire and Roman civilization. "[Mount Ida] was

The Beasts and Monsters in Dante's Inferno

3058 words - 12 pages The Inferno is the first section of Dante's three-part poem, The Divine Comedy. Throughout Dante's epic journey into the depths of Inferno he encounters thirty monsters and five hybrid creatures.  The most significant of these monsters are of central importance to his journey and to the narrative, as they not only challenge Dante's presence in Inferno, but are custodians of Hell, keeping in order or guarding the "perduta gente".  In this essay I

The odyssey - comparing the ro

844 words - 3 pages Odyssey vs. Rustling Rhapsody Comparison of the Role of Women "A woman is very unpredictable. She is romantic, sensitive and caring; however, underneath she is convoluted, deceptive and dangerous." -Erin Perrizn (1963 -) One would automatically assume that the female character in a heroic story takes the preconceived role of an object at the disposal of the male protagonist. The female character in a heroic story holds the stereotype that she is

Allegorical Punishments: Analysis of Dante’s Use of Allegory in Inferno

1280 words - 5 pages In Dante’s Inferno, those who never repented for their sins are sent there after death. Like the old Latin proverb says, “The knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation.” (“Latin Proverb Quotes” ThinkExist) The punishments in his Hell are decided by the law of retribution, which according to Webster’s Dictionary is the total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as

Similar Essays

Comparing The Struggle In Dante’s Inferno And Book Vi Of The Aeneid

4378 words - 18 pages The Infernal Struggle in Dante’s Inferno and Book VI of The Aeneid Does hell have its own history? For Dante, the structural and thematic history of ‘hell’ in the Inferno begins with the Roman epic tradition and its champion poet, Virgil. By drawing heavily from the characteristics of hell in Book VI of The Aeneid, Dante carries the epic tradition into the medieval world and affirms his indebtedness to Virgil’s poetry. Moreover, Virgil

The Role And Function Of The Major Monsters In Dante’s Inferno

1895 words - 8 pages In Dante’s Inferno, throughout the epic journey of the character Dante into the depth of Hell, he encounters a number of beasts and monsters as he passes along the way, especially through the seven stations of the greatest monsters of Hell. The most significant of these seven major monsters is of central importance to the character Dante’s journey as well as to the narrative, for these monsters not only challenge the presence of the character

The Opening Foundational Themes Of Dante’s Inferno

1725 words - 7 pages The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri somewhere around the year 1308 and originally called The Comedy, is widely considered one of the preeminent works of Italian literature. It is an epic poem that consists of three books: Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, which chronicle (narrate) the adventures of Dante the Pilgrim (a fictitious character personified by Dante himself) in his travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Although

Dante’s Inferno “Beatrice Portinari, Virgil, And The Pope Boniface Viii And Their Significance”

1049 words - 4 pages , either in history or for their relation to Dante's writing and depiction of a journey through Hell in his eyes. Thus, in what follows, I will discuss each character as they are described in Inferno and each's relevance to Dante and history.Beatrice Portinari was Dante Alighieri's childhood and lifelong love, so it's only fitting that she be seen as "the Divine Love and Grace" (Turner, 3) throughout the Inferno. Dante first encountered Beatrice at age