Dante's "Inferno".

Essay by illwork4sumbreadHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2005

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Dante Alighieri wrote "The Inferno" as a warning to his peers to turn from their sinful ways; anguish is all that is in store for those who are corrupt. This ground-breaking work painted a vivid picture of hell as an evil, inexplicably torturous place. Dante travels through the nine circles of the underworld with Virgil, a fellow poet, as his guide. "Therefore, for your own good, I think it well you follow me and I will be your guide and lead you forth through an eternal place. There you shall see the ancient spirits tried in endless pain and hear their lamentation..." (Alighieri, 31). Through their journey, Dante notices that as they travel deeper, the torment increases proportionally to the sins. Finally, as Dante and Virgil reach the most bitter, tormented place in the universe, the ninth circle of hell, they immediately depart after seeing Satan and the final circle of the underworld.

Dante Alighieri was a Florentine born of Italian Nobel ancestors. His mother died before Dante's eighth birth day. A few years later, Dante's father passed away also, but a man emerged as a caregiver to Dante, a man named Latini.

"After the death of his wife he [Dante's father] remarried, but died in the early 1280s, before the future poet reached manhood. Brunetto Latini, a man of letters and a politician, became a father figure for Dante, but later in his Commedia [The Inferno] Dante placed Latini in Hell, into the seventh circle, among those who were guilty of 'violence against nature' - sodomy." (Liukkonen)

Despite the untimely death of both his natural parents, Dante developed an incredible firm moral compass. The underlying commitment to a clear unequivocal moral standard allowed Dante to see even his closest friends and mentors in a clear light as evidenced...