Symbols In Dante's Inferno

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‘The municipal spirit pervade[s] the whole of Dante’s work’ (D’Entrèves). Analyse the significance of the city of Florence in the Inferno.

From an initial peruse of Dante’s Inferno we can acknowledge that the city of Florence or in the case of D’entrèves ‘the municipal spirit’ is incredibly prominent and can be perceived throughout this piece of work. Either by a single mention or a deep analysis, a noteworthy number of Inferno’s thirty three cantos highlights the importance of the city of Florence to a certain extent, be it allegorically or literal. One could argue that this is due to the major role that this city enacted throughout Dante Poet’s life. Irrefutably this role was not always positive. Thus during the poem we can see the implications of Dante’s life altering circumstances and many of the political dramas that savaged the city. Notably these issues are personified as particular protagonists in certain cantos, albeit allegorically. Hence Dante’s indignation directed towards the city and its
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Dante first places the blame of ‘la gente nuova’ (inf. 16.73) who were new money in the city who have happened to bring ‘orgoglio e dismisura’ (74) , excessive pride and extravagance. This must have come across as a threat to Dante and his position in society, indeed he was no aristocrat and his family was not tremendously wealthy, but the significance he held derived from his dignified ancestors. However, in theory this should not have been an issue for Dante, indeed in book four of the Convivio, through the canzone ‘Le dolci rime d’amor, ch’i’ solìa’ he states that ‘E’ gentilezza dovunqu’è vertute, ma non vertute ov’ella’ (101-102) Hence he implies that virtue is what makes a being noble, and not their lineage. Therefore one has to question why the idea of new money and the insurgence of mercantile families into the city of Florence troubled
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