"Inferno": A Presentation of God's Justice or a Mere Tool of Dante for His Revenge?

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Giovanni Papini offers an argument that the Divina Commedia, part of which is Inferno, may be defined "as a retaliation and revenge" (266). He gives a short background of Dante's humiliations; that the latter was forced to take second place as he was born of an ancient family, had to content himself with the duties of a subordinate, became a victim of Boniface VIII despite of having wished for moral reform for the church and hoped to re-enter his native city that obstinately repulsed him (266).

One literary theory is psychological criticism which deals with a work of literature primarily as an expression, in fictional form, of the personality, state of mind, feelings, and desires of its author... This theory requires [investigation of] the psychology of a character or an author to figure out the meaning of a text (although to apply an author's psychology to a text can also be considered biographical criticism...).


Given this idea, since the poet Dante experienced downfall, it is indeed possible that through his Commedia, particularly the Inferno, he "attacks" those people who contributed to his mentioned downfall. Dorothy Sayers further adds to this argument in her introduction to her translation of the Inferno:

We cannot, of course, do without the historical approach altogether, for the poem is largely concerned with historical events. Neither can we do altogether without the biographical approach, since the poem is so closely concerned with the poet's personal experiences. (19)

Given Dante's background in the first paragraph, Papini says that in Dante's mind came "the overpowering need of a victorious recovery, of a revenge which should compensate for his [Dante] humiliations and delusions" (266). Dante

will judge from on high the kings and emperors...Inconspicuous, neglected sacrificed in the temporal order of the world... [He] will declare his unmeasured...