The Writing Style Of Dante's Inferno

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When starting to read Dante’s Inferno a person is often confronted by a very distinctive kind of writing style. This writing style is distinctive of the time in which the Inferno was written estimated to be around 1314 to 1317, before Dante’s death in 1321. This can lead to questions about the composition of certain lines in a passage of the text. One of these questions, why did he write it like this, popped into my head not long after starting to read Cantos I.
In the first Canto, Dante meets the three beast of hell and Virgil (Alighieri 392-394). When he realized whom Virgil is he cries forth, “O light and honor of other poets, / may me long years of study, and that deep love / that made me search your verses, help me now” (Alighieri 394). The first thought that ran through my mind is Dante must have held Virgil as a hero of his. It seems that Dante is using these lines to show his feelings of this Virgil and ask for his help. The tone Dante uses, longing, is meaningful to the lines as it gave a clearer understanding of how he feels toward Virgil. However, Dante uses simple language to achieve this tone. When he uses the words, “O light and honor of other poets” (Alighieri 394) he argues that Virgil is the greatest of poets. This argument would likely cause other to argue back that someone else, say Homer, is better suited to have the title, greatest of poets. It seems as if Dante viewed Virgil as an inspiration of sorts even though Virgil was long dead before the time of
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