Dante's Inferno Essay

851 words - 3 pages

Comedy or Guilty Conscience Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy after he was exiled from Florence Italy. Soon after being exiled he wrote the Divine Comedy with the premise that it was a political allegory. Dante had the audacity to write about hell and purgatory, and why all of his enemies would go there. Dante's motives were supposed to be to make a joke about his political foes and their sins. This motive was soon undermined by Dante himself when he began to have delusions of grandeur. Dante's inadequacies appeared to be the real reason that Dante would "toot his own horn" so to speak. Dante was not merely making a joke to prove to everybody how bad everybody was, he was trying to convince himself that he was not a bad person. Dante ranked himself among the greatest poets only because he knew he was not. These delusions of grandeur show the level of self esteem of Dante and his constant need to make himself believe he was a good person. It is apparent that Dante thought he was better than most people. This is made clear when Dante writes how Virgil treats the people of hell. When Dante wrote about how Virgil treated the people of hell and how Virgil treated himself it was made clear that Dante elevated himself to a level above the patrons of hell. In this passage from Canto VII it shows the disregard for people in hell as Dante saw it. "Then he stretched both his hands out toward the boat, at which my master quickly shoved him back, saying: 'Be off there with the other dogs!'" As Virgil was giving Dante the guided tour through hell, Dante and Virgil show no compassion for anybody but themselves. Virgil was openly hostile and rude to his neighbors in hell to appear to be superior. Dante on the other hand shows his true colors when he acts as a frightened child in Canto VIII 97-102 when he said "O my dear guide, who more than seven times has given back to me my confidence and snatched me from deep danger that had menaced, do not desert me when I'm so undone; and if they will not let us pass beyond, let us retrace our steps together, quickly." This shows how...

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