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Dante's Life In Relation To His Writing

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Autor:   •  March 3, 2011  •  968 Words (4 Pages)  •  680 Views

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Would you ever banish a person you greatly admire to the depths of Hell? Would you send the love of your life to Hell? Most people, including Dante would not. If we could imagine who would suffer most in the afterlife, it would hope it could be someone who hurt us or affected our lives in a very negative way. I believe Dante reflected on experiences of his life when describing the Inferno.

Beatrice, Virgin Mary, and St. Lucy are in Heaven. Dante had loved Beatrice since he was nine years old. Virgin Mary and St. Lucy were well respected, well known religious icons. These three women were placed in heaven because of Dante's emotions and beliefs. The first circle of Hell is Limbo. The un-baptized, good hearted people were in this level. This is the level Dante chose for Virgil. Virgil lived on Earth before Christ, therefore wasn't baptized and could not be placed in Heaven according to Dante's beliefs. Dante admired Virgil greatly and didn't want him to suffer, so he placed Virgil in the 1st circle.

The next four circles are designated to people whose sins affect themselves more than they affect others. Dante knows these people have sinned, but he has compassion for them. The second circle is for the lustful. Dante feels sorry for Francesca who cheated on her husband. He says, "Francesca, your suffering makes me weep for sorrow and pity," (Dante 43) Dante might be able to relate for the lustful because he loved Beatrice for many years without ever being with her. It is possible that Dante was lustful toward Beatrice. It is also possible that Dante was gluttonous. He had many hard times in his life in which he may have turned to food or drink to ease the pain. This could explain why Dante put the lustful and the gluttons in the outer circles of Hell. Most people want to believe their own sins are excusable or deserve less punishment. The fourth circle is designated for the spenders and hoarders. These could be good people who for some reason were acting inappropriately. The fifth circle is for the wrathful and sullen. It is likely that Dante was at some point in his life, wrathful of sullen. Dante uses this as the last circle of the upper parts of Hell. The sins for the first five circles are common sins that are committed by people in moments of weakness. Dante has possibly committed these sins which could explain why he feels some compassion for the people in these circles.

The sixth circle is the largest circle. It is for heretics. According to, a heretic is a person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. Dante was a Catholic person who obviously didn't approve of people going against the Catholic religion. He put these people in the sixth circle because their sins were not only affecting themselves; they were possibly having an impact on the religious views of others.

The seventh, eighth, and ninth circles are dedicated to people who have committed sins of violence, fraud, or betrayal. These sins are considered by Dante to be worse and result in a harsher punishment. The seventh circle is for violence. It has three separate rings. The first is for people


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