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Analyse the Christian themes of Dante's "inferno" in terms of its relevance to and his refection's on his contemporary society?

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Introduction

Q) Analyse the Christian themes of Dante's "inferno" in terms of its relevance to and his refection's on his contemporary society? "Oh enslaved Italy! Place of sorrow, ship without captain in a storm, not respectable lady but place of corruption" (The Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, VI 76- 78)1 Dante Alighieri had seen the State of Florence in all its corruption, treachery, and fed up with the Medieval world and its trappings began the writing of his work that would encompass his life, and become a milestone in Dante's acknowledgement in literary history. His masterpiece the "Divina Commedia" (Italian for the Divine Comedy), containing the allegory of human suffering "Inferno", has been seen throughout history, as a model of the moral and religious complications of Medieval culture, but most of all the Medieval world. Dante very much was involved in the political life of his town Florence. From a contextual perspective, Florence was in political turmoil, with the papacy's fraud in gaining power in the state, and the conflicting political leaders of the time opposing the papacy's demands. ...read more.

Middle

As an obvious illustration of Dante's political bias, Farinata is depicted as the pinnacle of 'sinner' as he substitutes the love of God for politics and political pride. "It is Farinata rising from the flames... He rose above the flame, great chest, great brow; He seemed to hold all Hell in disrespect"3 Said to be one of the most driving and theatrical passages in the entire poem, the background of hell is almost lost among the references to "flame", as the two political rival's face each other and their continuing debate on who is right. Thus Dante reanimates the theme of justice through his confrontation with Farinata, who under Gods judgement is sentenced to suffer in Hell, among the heretics. This one example of many in the text, of the theme of Justice, acts as prophetic poetry warning Florentines of the evils that awaited them in Hell. Another theme expressed in the text is the connected theme of sin and redemption. ...read more.

Conclusion

By showing Lucifer chewing on Judas (the betrayer of Christ), Cassius and Brutus (the betrayers of Julius Caesar) he unites his concerns of church and political affairs and states their equal importance. Contextually once again, this reinforces the idea of getting the attention of society to acknowledge their own sins, and returning back to the Christian way of life that had become disillusioned during the middle ages. In conclusion Dante's epic "The Divine Comedy" and his prologue, "inferno", is a mirror image of the philosophical, political and religious paradigms of 13th century thinking. Dante's anger and outrage at his beloved state Florence, its people, and most of all the power play between church and state all played a major part in contributing to the motive for his literary work. His Christian themes of Sin and redemption, Justice under Gods judgement, and the severity of evil in his own eyes all contribute as a reflection of society's ideals and of Dante's own personal values and attitudes. ...read more.

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