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The Symbolism in the Punishment of Sin in Dante's Inferno

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  • Essay length: 4128 words
  • Submitted: 12/11/2008
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The Symbolism in the Punishment of Sin in Dante's Inferno

Inferno, the first part of Divina Commedia, or the Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri, is the story of a man's journey through Hell and his observance of the punishments incurred as a result of committing sin. In all cases the severity of the punishment and the punishment itself, has a direct correlation to the sin committed. The punishments are fitting in that they are symbolic of the actual sin; in other words, "They got what they wanted." (Literature of the Western World, p.1409) According to Dante, Hell has two divisions: Upper Hell, devoted to those who perpetrated sins of incontinence, and Lower Hell, devoted to those who perpetrated sins of malice. The divisions of Hell are also split into levels corresponding to the sins committed.

Each of the levels and the divisions within levels 7,8, and 9 have an analogous historical or mythological figure used to illustrate and exemplify the sin.

The first of the two divisions of Hell is Upper Hell. Upper Hell is the area inhabited by those who committed sins of incontinence or lack of self-restraint. This lack of self-restraint comes in

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