Allegories In Dante's Inferno

762 Words4 Pages
In Medieval, Italy in the year of 1265, a soon to be accomplished author and poet was born. This author, was Dante. Like many other authors who came before him, Dante used his personal life to spark a poem or story. From his first encounter with Beatrice at the tender age of nine, to his “mid-life crisis” after his exile, numerous parts of his life led to his creation of the Divine Comedy. With more than one mission in mind, Dante decided to use both epic and allegorical elements in his Divine Comedy as the best means of revealing his message and wisdom to his readers. Authors commonly use allegories to express two different meanings within one work. Dante, for instance, used his allegories to diversify the thought process of his readers. Within the first stanza of the Inferno, Dante uses the portrait of a dark and arduous wood to symbolize the darkness that clouds his own life. Dante brings this woody scene to life for his readers by claiming “I [Dante] went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.” (Canto I lines 1-3) From that ominous wood, Dante is escorted through the steep and winding levels of hell. In the Inferno, “hell” represents Dante’s own hell in his life, his home city of Florence, Italy. The steep and…show more content…
Each of these animals has a different allegorical meaning. A leopard in this case symbolizes a woman that entices Dante to be unholy. Dante draws forth an image of the spotted leopard by expressing that “I [Dante] faced a spotted leopard, all tremor and flow and gaudy pelt.” (Canto I line 33) The lion, on the other hand, is symbolic of Dante’s anger and wrath towards those who exiled him. Finally, the allegorical meaning behind the She-Wolf is Dante’s desire for power and money. Dante portrays the She-Wolf as “a rack for avarice, gaunt, and craving.” (Canto I line
Open Document