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The inferno of Dante

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Introduction

Heidi Al-Sahsah Professor Evans HUM210 August 23, 2007 The Inferno of Dante as translated by Robert Pinsky is a work of poetry by Dante Alighieri describing Dante's guided tour through Hell and his witness to the punishments of the sinners dwelling there. There are many punishments for the many sins that Dante has represented in his rendition of Hell many of which seem to be far more intense than need be and others for sins that are seemingly trivial. In Canto III of The Inferno of Dante, the nonbelievers dwell in the gates of hell chasing after a blank banner and being stung by flies and wasps (V.31-54). Though chasing after a blank banner that represents their inability to choose God seems like it would be an apt punishment as it will remind them for all eternity that they stood for nothing. ...read more.

Middle

Will the sinners understand the symbolism of their punishment? Shouldn't the punishment represent a lesson? A punishment of living for the rest of eternity with an overwhelming longing for love and never receiving it would punish the Lustful and they would forever be reminded of the sin that they have committed. The Third Circle continues with the rain. The difference here is that souls are of the Gluttons and they are forever stuck in the putrid soil of waste while they are ripped apart by Cerberus, a three headed monster, as punishment for their Gluttonous behavior in life (Canto VI, V. 7-19). Yet another example where a portion of the punishment is too brutal for the sin committed. These harsher punishments should be saved for the sinners that have committed horrific sins that require horrific punishments. Of all of the punishments, that of which is doled out to the Spenders and Hoarders seems as if Dante could not think of anything at all, writers block perhaps. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Dante covered a multitude of sins in The Inferno of Dante, he only covered four of the Seven Deadly Sins. Gluttony, Lust, Wrath, and Greed were represented in Dante's Hell but Sloth, Envy, and Pride did not make the cut. Did Dante feel that these were lesser than, for instance, the fortune tellers? These could also be a representation of the time in which Dante wrote his work. Most notably, Rapists and child molesters were not present either in Dante's Hell. This is definitely a sign of the time that Dante lived. Dante's Hell represents the multiple punishments for the sins of import to Dante. The order of sins and the levels of punishments for the sins are often overdone and superfluous. Some sins seem meaningless and unworthy of any punishment. The political time that Dante lived in is definitely reflected in the sins that he found to be the most heinous. ...read more.

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