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 Dante in Hell, but they are also the important custodians of Hell. Moreover, some of them even have more particular duty to perform, apart from being the Hell guardians.
From this point, in this essay of Dante’s Inferno, the seven major monsters, namely Minos, Cerberus, Plutus, Minotaur, Centaurs, Harpies and Geryon, are examined for their role and function in the story.
In examination of Dante’s Inferno, I have found that all of these major monsters fulfill their vital role and function perfectly, and there are two substantial viewpoints concerning the involvement of the seven monsters. One viewpoint shows the monsters in their role of the custodians and tormentors of Hell which is a tool to create terrifying atmospheres of Hell. In other words, the narrator Dante presents the monsters as scary creatures for the character Dante, for he considers that this technique is significantly important for the development of the story. Another viewpoint shows the monsters as symbols which reinforce the narrator Dante’s narration, for these monsters directly reflect the human’s sins as they represent the concept of God’s retribution for classification of sins.
In Dante’s Inferno, the seven major monsters play very important parts to the character Dante throughout the entire story. There are numerous examples of scenes of the monsters that portray the relationship among the character Dante, the monsters themselves, and the themes of the story, of which some will be discussed in this paper.

The first major monster to be discussed is from the scene in the Canto V; Minos, the monster who stands at the border of the Second Circle of Hell, whose duty is to assign condemned souls to their punishments. He curls his tail around himself a certain number of times indicating the number of the proper circle to which each soul must go according to his or her sin. The excerpt taken from the Canto V to portray the great monster Minos is as follow:

According to aforementioned quotation, it portrays that the great monster Minos, as the infernal judge and the agent of God’s justice, represents the human’s conscience and morality. For the time when the sinners come in front of the monster, it reminds the readers to think about themselves: what they have done in the past, or more precisely, their own sins. The monster Minos, moreover, plays an important role to the development of the story as his terrifying treatment of the sinners’ souls and his dreadful method of indicating the circle of Hell for all sinners help...

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