The Cruel Death Of Count Ugolino In Dante's Inferno

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I found Canto XXXIII of Dante’s Inferno to be an extremely intriguing canto as it highlighted many key themes portrayed throughout all of Inferno such as betrayal, cruelness and death. This can be illustrated from Count Ugolino’s story on his cruel death in the hands of the Archbishop Ruggieri and what led to his journey to Hell. Ugolino begins by calling the archbishop a traitor for imprisoning him and his children, claiming “How [Ugolino] was seized, and executed then, having trusted [Ruggieri] while he betrayed and lied” (Canto XXXIII, p. 1). Then, Ugolino recalled how Ruggieri viciously starved them to the point where, upon witnessing their father’s grief and sorrow, Ugolino’s children began urging their father to eat them in order to relieve their father of his great hunger and ensure his survival. In the following few days, all his sons died of hunger, extending Ugolino’s misery even further. Ugolino ends his story with a rather disturbing line, “Then fasting did what misery had not done,” perhaps hinting at the possibility that he ate his dead sons, which could ultimately explain why Ugolino was in hell (p.2).
At this point in the canto, all the pity I previously felt for Ugolino for the way he and his children were cruelly being treated by the archbishop, completely disappeared when I learned that Ugolino may be responsible for eating his own kids. While Dante, the character, appeared to show some sympathy for Ugolino for being the victim of the archbishop’s betrayal, I believe Ugolino’s lone sin was bad enough to justify him

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