The Inferno by Dante Alighiere
Translated by John Ciardi
„« Summary of plot, organization and resolution
o The Inferno is the first of a three part series by Dante known as the Divine Comedy. In this Divine Comedy Dante chronicles his journey to God through the levels of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. The Inferno is his description of his journey through the levels of Hell. The Inferno begins with Dante lost in a dark wood, which possibly represented sin. Dante tried to exit the wood, but three impassible beasts blocked his path. Dante is rescued when the spirit of Virgil is sent to lead him to salvation, however, Dante must journey through hell to reach salvation. Dante and Virgil then journey through the levels of hell, with the occasional help of a heavenly messenger sent to aid Dante in his journey. Virgil describes Hell as cone shaped, made up of increasingly smaller levels depending on the severity of the sins which a person committed. The levels of Hell were often sub-divided allowing for even more discrimination depending on the severity of your sin. Dante completes his journey through hell when he and Virgil reach the deepest pit of hell, where they climb down the body of Lucifer to emerge in the southern hemisphere.
„« Tie to the middle ages and/or transition to the renaissance
o The Inferno in some ways follows the mold of the middle ages, but the other ways it is more like a renaissance piece.
o The Inferno ties to the Middle Ages through its total and absolute focus on God, and Dante¡¦s journey to reach salvation.
o The main thing that caught my attention relating The Inferno to the renaissance was Dante¡¦s placement of several popes in several levels of Hell. Most Middle Age writers would not have thought of accusing a pope of sin, yet Dante saw the corruption of the church and didn¡¦t fear to write about it.
„« Surprises, delights, new ideas and/or intriguing sections