Dante's Inferno - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date Submitted: Dante’s Inferno Dante’s Inferno is the first part of a trilogy known as ‘The Divine Comedy’ written by Italian writer and political activist Dante Alighieri in the 1300’s. It was completed after the author’s exile from Florence and depicts the story of an allegorical journey through hell, separated into several ‘canto’s’…
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Dantes Inferno Essay
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Download file to see previous pages It is also considered to be one of the greatest medieval poetic works written in the vernacular and so stands as a landmark in the development of the English language and its literature, and displays a huge amount of literary devices and various expressions of personal values (Payton 5). However, its allusions to Florentine society in the 1300’s is perhaps its greatest achievement as it recounts both a realistic and individual interpretation of the cultural state of the city at the time. One of the most prolific themes of the work is the political arguments and commentary that it makes. The author had just been exiled from Florence and ultimately condemns several political figures with whom he disagreed with, to hell, scattering them around the landscape of the poem. Setting the poem some time before the events of the time, he also ‘predicted’ political changes of the future by issuing them as voices of damned souls with great emphasis on the negativity and turmoil that had already materialised in reality. Dante also used the poem to express his own personal political beliefs, namely that the church and state should be separate but entirely equal powers, each holding reign over humankinds faith and physical being respectively. He expresses this belief even in the imagery conveyed in the poem and famously in the final image in particular as Lucifer attempts to eat both a political and religious figure. Dante goes on to elaborate on this particular belief even further by rendering extremely harsh punishments to those guilty of abusing positions of power and for agreeing with the amalgamation of the institutions of church and state. The theological premises of the poem fundamentally combine with the political and cultural themes as they were intertwined within the Florentine society of the time. Dante strongly asserted that church and state be separate but nonetheless acknowledged the importance and disparate roles of both. Using the theological concept of hell as the backdrop to the tale, Dante depicts it as nine circles of suffering situated on earth. It is representative of the transition of the soul towards God or heaven, and the protagonist is the author himself who at the age of 35 is half-way through his life’s journey. Very much an allegory, the inferno in question manifests the soul of the Christian viewing sin for what it truly is, very much reflecting the personal beliefs and values of the author. From very early on, the daunting prospect of entering hell is presented as he stands at the gates, “through me you enter into the city of woes Through me you enter into eternal pain Through me you enter the population of loss ... Abandon all hope, you who enter here” (Alighieri, canto 3: 1-7). Dantes’ Inferno tells us much about western European culture after 1300 as it directly alludes to the political and religious unrest and turmoil that existed at this time. It highlights the anger of those who opposed the treachery of the church and the fact that so many respected political and religious figures were taking bribes and abusing their positions of power in favour of money, wealth and other material possessions that de-valued the fundamentals of true Christian faith (Kreis para. 35). Depicting such a political problem within a highly theological premise highlights the fact that during the 1200’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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