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Inferno By Dante Alighieri Essay

1917 words - 8 pages

In Dante’s Inferno, Dante creates inventive imagery between ones sin and the punishment they would receive in Hell. One of the main themes that Dante uses in the book is allegory, or how the punishment fits the sin. This theme illustrates what happens to people who sin on earth. In this theme Dante created a hell that had nine levels, each worse than the first. Starting with a lesser heaven and ending with the icy cold ninth circle, where Lucifer resides. In each circle, sinners are punished according to their crimes. For example, those who get sent to the lustful circle are forced to endure ravishing winds and storms for all eternity. As Dante travels through hell, the punishments become much worse
The first level is purgatory, canto four, a place where people who neither did good or bad go. The idea of purgatory, or limbo, is a region that lies on the edge of hell where those who were not saved even though they did no wrong were sent after death. Dante’s version of this area is more generous than most in the realm of hell. Purgatory is the first circle of hell, includes honest and moral non-Christian adults as well as unbaptized babies. (Lummus, 63). One would find some of the great philosophers, poets and heroes in this realm. For example, poets and philosophers like Homer and Aristotle live out their eternity in limbo.
When Dante first enters Limbo, he finds himself at the edge of a dark valley. Virgil, the poet who first came to him in the dark woods tells him it is time to enter the valley, Dante is scared to enter into it, but Virgil assures him that everything will be ok. A flame erupts which illuminates the valley and Dante sees a large castle where great thinkers, poets and philosophers lived. (Dante. 4-15 Along with this castle Dante saw green fields and other beautiful sights. One would wonder how this could be hell. Virgil explains that Limbo is at the edge of hell. The people who are sent here have never sinned; they were just not baptized or were born before the coming of Christ. The sinners in this circle do not suffer like others in the realm of hell; rather they live on in eternity with the absence of God’s love. (Dante, 4-30). Other than what they suffer from the loss of God’s love, there is no punishment for those in Limbo.
The next level of hell that Dante visited was the second circle, the region where the lustful are sent. In this circle resided lovers, who consequently because of their actions got others killed. In his book, Dante describes the lustful as, “carnal sinners who subordinate reason to desire" (Dante. 5-38). As Dante and Virgil descended into the lustful circle of hell, Dante notices that this circle is smaller than the first, which indicates that hell is funnel shaped and each level is smaller than the last. At the entrance to this circle, Dante and Virgil meet Minos a bull like creature that sorts out the souls and sends them to the levels which correspond with their sins. One’s fate is decided by how many...

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