Dante's Popes

Essay by benschriHigh School, 12th gradeC-, May 2007

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Dante Alighieri incorporated corrupt Popes into his work The Inferno in a political ploy to represent the corruption of his time period. There are four different popes that are used in The Inferno; Pope St. Gregory II, Pope Nicholas III, Pope Boniface VIII, and Pope Clement V. Dante had a problem with each of these political figures in some way or another. Some became his enemy while others just made him upset for a particular reason and that is the motive Dante had to use them as characters in The Inferno, which is evident now that it is not just a piece of religious literature but a very political piece as well.

All of his life Dante was involved in politics, from his birth in May or June of 1265 into the political hot spot at the time: Florence, to when he was one of the six priors ().

He was born into a family of little wealth, with loyalties to the Guelph’s, a political party in support to the papacy, and were enemies with the Ghibellines and the Holy Roman Emperor. Dante and the Guelph’s were against the change of the Renaissance but were very involved in the politics during their time period, except for Dante towards later in his life when he decided to change his views and become more neutral.

Although many believed Dante was against the church, that is not the case. There were disagreements between him and several Popes, though nothing to make him completely change his views on the church. He agreed with the system of the church and how it functioned, and he believed that it could be a very healthy part of society if it worked together as one with the Pope. He did have problems with the church and there...