Contrapasso In Dantes Inferno

Powerful Essays
Fueled by the anger surrounding his banishment from Florence in 1302, Dante Alighieri spitefully wrote the epic poem, the Divine Comedy. The Inferno, the first part of the trilogy of the Divine Comedy, tells the story of Dante the pilgrim and Dante the poet. The two personas deliver Dante’s journey through hell, the Inferno, with added depth. Dante is also guided by Virgil, an ancient Roman poet from 50 B.C. The three personas share different perspectives on the grueling detail of their findings in hell. As his journey is told through poetry, each specific depiction of punishment, aside from eliciting a disgusted emotional response out of the reader, is symbolic towards the overall meaning of Alighieri’s motivation. Duality is a prominent…show more content…
The prisoners receive a thematically equivalent punishment to their actions in their previous lives. As the deeper circles of hell are populated by the worst inmates, the concept of contrapasso elicits exceedingly jarring punishments the further Dante travels. The nine total circles of hell are large enough to populate a lifetime 's worth of the world’s sins. When Dante is introduced to the first circle of hell, reserved for pagans, it is clear that the inmates are bound eternally to live in the Inferno, for even those who did not conciously commit sin, are forced to stay in this realm. In his real life, Alighieri was highly vocal about political stances. Alighieri as a child excelled in his studies and offered much to the world of philosophy, yet preferred poetry to his studies. "Kind star or something better has given me that gift, I not abuse it.“ (Alighieri, Canto 26). Alighieri turned to poetry as his only emotional outlet, increasingly so after by the death of his lover, Beatrice Portinari. Alighieri had unforgiving tendencies regarding political stances, however, Dante was in most opposition against those in neutral parties. This is cause to the motif of souls residing in Dante’s hell due to a lack of participation under a particular school of thought. The quote is a commentary on intellect, and intellect’s relationship with moral. Alighieri is steadfast in his actions, regarding his…show more content…
The shift between structured storytelling and deep imagery is prominent and intentional. The act of Aligeri sharing imagery in distinct bursts mimics the human nature to open one;s eyes or keep looking at prolonged horror. The delivery of such lines through poetic rhythm dances with the reader’s heart. “clawed themselves, their nails drew down the scabs the way a knife scrapes bream…” (Inf. I, 82-84). Dante uses powerful, graphic imagery to depict punishment and sin reveales behaviorally, the true nature of the sin of violence. The punishment is relentless, the reasonaing and moral rules are due to entity defined by human. In that Aligeri is responsible for not only punishment, but the qualities that deem them wrong. No punishment too specific, the tormented scrape and stab any prisoner they see. The screams and bludgeonings are the relative normal, and evil is left to be the only residing party. Therefore, in this circle, life knows no similarity with reality, and for eternity, this violence is numb. The true punishment is to reduce the value of the inmates consciousness and actions, above the endless physical
Get Access