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Doré’s Punishment Of The Avaricious And The Prodigal

876 words - 4 pages

The artist Gustave Doré engraved the entire Divine Comedy in wood. One of these 136 engravings is Punishment of the Avaricious and the Prodigal. This piece is an accurate illustration of The Inferno’s Circle Four because it closely follows Dante’s description in the text, it is creative, and it is well illustrated.
Doré’s depiction of Circle Four is accurate because it closely follows Dante’s description in the text. Dante and Virgil enter Circle Four. Dante notices that “Here the sinners were more numerous than elsewhere, and they, with great shouts, from opposite sides were shoving burdens forward with their chests” (Dante 7.25-27). In Doré’s illustration, the sinners push heavy weights ...view middle of the document...

But, Doré’s idea to make these weights that they hate the object that they loved so profoundly in life that it caused them to end up in Hell, is brilliant. It is also very creative that Doré illustrated the coins as falling out of the bags, as this shows the struggles of the sinners and adds extra interest to the image. This creativity allows for the viewer to imagine the vaguely described weights in the poem more clearly. Another creative decision Doré had to make when illustrating Circle 4 was who would be in the image. It is not clear to the eye of a person who has never read Inferno that the sinners of Circle 4 are primarily clergymen who worked for the church for money. This decision to make the sinners completely indistinguishable, though, was better because the sinners are supposed to be unrecognizable. However, Doré’s Circle 4 is made up uniquely of men. When noticing that everyone in the picture is male, the viewer must take into account that in both Dante and Doré’s day the world of economy and business was predominantly for men. This does not mean that women were not greedy, though, but Doré’s decision to make every visible sinner and man accurately reflects upon the time the poem was written and the image was illustrated and the suppression of women. For these reasons,

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Doré’s illustration of Circle Four is accurate and helps the readers to more thoroughly picture the scene of Circle Four in their minds.
Doré’s engraving of Circle Four also is accurate thanks to...

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