Through The Depths Of Hell Essay

1712 words - 7 pages

Throughout his life, Dante Alighieri faced many hardships and accumulated many rivals, stemming from his association with the Florentine White Guelphs, who adamantly believed in the independence from the papacy. After being exiled from his home city of Florence on false allegations of being a grafter, he wrote The Inferno, a religious allegory, in which Alighieri blatantly attacks many of his rivals, among them Filippo Argenti and Bocca degli Abbati through use of literary devices as dialogue, imagery, juxtaposition, diction, tone and characterization. However, Alighieri does not show resentment towards all the sinners in his epic poem, he fluctuates between hostility and benevolence. In one specific case, Alighieri shows a sense of pity and compassion towards a specific sinner, one guilty of sodomy, Ser Brunetto Latino. Alighieri’s compassion derives from his great admiration for the fellow writer who had been a lifelong inspiration. His compassion is shown through the utilization of diction, dialogue, and imagery. Alighieri integrates many techniques in his writings to deliver his judgment of the sinners, fluctuating between feelings of hostility and benevolence.
Alighieri places Filippo Argenti in Circle Five, the Styx, among the wrathful souls; here is the first time that readers see Dante express such strong emotions of hate towards a sinner. These feelings displayed through his use of dialogue, juxtaposition, imagery, diction, and tone. Alighieri’s hatred is justified, as it is revealed that Argenti has been a longtime enemy who had played perhaps the most decisive role in Alighieri’s banishment from Florence. Dante encounters Argenti trying to board the skiff on which the poets were crossing the Styx, and upon recognition of his old foe, Dante spits out, “May you weep and wail to all eternity, for I know you, hell-dog, filthy as you are” (Canto VIII, 37-38). Alighieri uses the dialogue and tone in which Dante addresses Argenti to make clear his hatred towards the snake. Referring to Argenti as a “hell-dog,” Alighieri furthermore incorporates juxtaposition as well as diction by comparing and contrasting two very different ideas. While a dog is loyal and always faithful, Alighieri distorts this idea through the use of diction to conjure up: “hell-dog,” depicting Argenti as anything but loyal. This emphasizes Alighieri’s hostility towards Argenti since in life Argenti had been a miscreant, to Alighieri, a sworn traitor. Dante describes Argenti as “filthy,” the word “filth” bringing to mind the lowness and depravity of Argenti’s character. Alighieri’s use of imagery that he incorporates when Dante wishes for Argenti to “weep and wail for all eternity” creates an image of a tortured soul who forever is consumed by the pangs of lament and pain. The tone connotes a sense of deep hatred and loathing that Dante has never seemed to be capable of in the past circles due to not encountering any people of whom he resents as much as Argenti . Before...

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