How Is Death Portrayed In Dante's Inferno

527 Words3 Pages
Dante’s Inferno is filled with imagery of suffering, which is oftentimes caused by famous creatures alluded to from mythology or history. In addition, many of the higher circles of Dante’s hell hold enough punishment without the presence of these creatures. Through an analysis of the Cantos populated by beasts and the Cantos that are not, we can speculate on the reasoning for the contrast in punishment.
In the earlier Cantos, various beasts and demons populated the lower circles of hell. For instance, characters such as Minos, Cerberus, and Plutus stand at each gate to torment the shades trapped there. However, the later Cantos the only ones who occupy the highest circles of hell are the sinners. The only characters that appear in Cantos
…show more content…
They do not need to be punished or tortured, because in Dante’s eyes, residing in the highest circles with the other sinners of their caliber is punishment enough. The pain the shades are feeling is a result of aggression being targeted towards them, rather than having a monster like Cerberus “flay(s) and quarter(s) them in the rain” (VI, 17). Going further, the shades are not being tormented by monsters and demons because they have become the monsters themselves. To be sent to the highest levels of hell, people would have had to commit very serious crimes, or be the worst kind of sinners. In this case, these are the treacherous. These people have chosen to live their lives in such a terrible way that they end up in the eighth and ninth circles of hell, where there aren’t any monsters or demons who are more evil. The only “monster” left to cause agony is Satan himself, who stands “issuing three winds / That went forth as he beat them, to freeze the whole / Realm of Cocytus that (surrounds) him” (XXXIV, 51-53). When the Devil is the only creature worse than you are, it shows the reader just how monstrous these shades had been in their lifetimes, according to

More about How Is Death Portrayed In Dante's Inferno

Open Document