Dante's "Inferno". Essay

1182 words - 5 pages

Dante Alighieri wrote "The Inferno" as a warning to his peers to turn from their sinful ways; anguish is all that is in store for those who are corrupt. This ground-breaking work painted a vivid picture of hell as an evil, inexplicably torturous place. Dante travels through the nine circles of the underworld with Virgil, a fellow poet, as his guide. "Therefore, for your own good, I think it well you follow me and I will be your guide and lead you forth through an eternal place. There you shall see the ancient spirits tried in endless pain and hear their lamentation..." (Alighieri, 31). Through their journey, Dante notices that as they travel deeper, the torment increases proportionally to the sins. Finally, as Dante and Virgil reach the most bitter, tormented place in the universe, the ninth circle of hell, they immediately depart after seeing Satan and the final circle of the underworld.Dante Alighieri was a Florentine born of Italian Nobel ancestors. His mother died before Dante's eighth birth day. A few years later, Dante's father passed away also, but a man emerged as a caregiver to Dante, a man named Latini."After the death of his wife he [Dante's father] remarried, but died in the early 1280s, before the future poet reached manhood. Brunetto Latini, a man of letters and a politician, became a father figure for Dante, but later in his Commedia [The Inferno] Dante placed Latini in Hell, into the seventh circle, among those who were guilty of 'violence against nature' - sodomy." (Liukkonen)Despite the untimely death of both his natural parents, Dante developed an incredible firm moral compass. The underlying commitment to a clear unequivocal moral standard allowed Dante to see even his closest friends and mentors in a clear light as evidenced by his placement of Latini, his surrogate father, into the seventh layer of hell due to his irrevocable sins on earth.Throughout his early years, he became highly educated in the Classical and Christian literature, where he succeeded in his studies and honed his skills for his life's greatest work, which was yet to come. The high moral standards that were so central to Dante's world view guided one of his most difficult life decisions. He chose to accept the arranged marriage to Gemma Donati, despite the fact he did not love her. After years of marriage, military, and politics, Dante was charged with financial corruption and was therefore exiled from Florence. Because of this, he migrated to Northern Italy to live out the rest of his life. Even with this traumatic life shift, Dante chose to spend the rest of his life with the wife of his youth even though Dante's true love rested with a woman named Beatrice.The significance of Dante's forced marriage to Gemma Donati is that it brought about a creative spirit that he used for literature. Because his true love rested with Beatrice, his passion freed him to write his first poetry in the form of sonnets. Sparking his literary potential, Dante went on to write...

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