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Dante Discussion Paper

The Divine Comedy is a reaction to the politics of Medieval Florence. To delve further, Florence
was divided between the Whites and Blacks political party. The Whites were against the rulings of the
Pope while the Blacks supported him. When Pope Boniface VIII associated himself with the Blacks in
order to seize Florence, Dante was ultimately exiled. Dantes hatred towards the Pope can be seen
throughout his works.
In Inferno, the reader follows Dante towards his journey through hell. Using himself as the main
character, the book starts off with Dante getting lost in the Dark Woods. Just as three wild animals
threatened his safety, he is guided by the Ghost of Virgil. Puzzled by the fact that his idol was in hell,
Dante inquire about the precarious situation. Virgil explained that the Virgin Mary and Santa Lucia pitied
Dante and asked his deceased lover, Beatrice, to send down a helpful guide. Lo and behold, she chose to
send down his most treasured hero.
The two spiral down into the nine circles of Hell, the first of which is Limbo. This ring contained
all unbaptized and virtuous people that could not be saved by God. They do not suffer, but they also do
not know the warmth of Gods love. It is possible to be transported out of this ring into Heaven as
demonstrated by Noah, Abraham, and Moses.
Delving deeper into the flames comes the circle of the lustful. It is in this ring that the lustful are
tormented by an endless array of storms. Here, Dante meets Francesca da Rimini who recounted her life
before Hell. As she approached the conclusion of her story, Dante felt the sorrow in his soul and passed
The third circle contains those of the gluttonous. Dante wakes up in a rainy, polluted region. He
talks to the Ciacco who prophesizes the disaster that will occur in Florence. Soon after, Dante
approaches the fourth circle containing the greedy. It is here that the avaricious and prodigal roll their
heavy weights in eternal circles. After a soapbox speech performed by Virgil, the two heroes venture
down the river Styx, where they are lead towards the fifth circle. This circle contains the Sullen and
Wrathful, all of who are dirty and constantly trying to hurt one another and unable to speak.
Approaching the gates of Dis, the two heroes are aided by an angle who forces the gates open
for them. The reach the circle of the Heretics where Dante converses with Farinata degli Uberti, who
also prophesies Dantes arduous journey to come back from exile.
In the path from the sixth to seventh layer, Virgil explains the full structure of Hell. Mainly, each
layer falls under three big sins: incontinence, fraud and treachery. Circles one through six has fallen
under incontinence and the following sins are soon to come. In the seventh circle, shows the violent
sinners. Dante and Virgil encounter the beat Geryon who leads them into the eight circles.
Now the eight circle have ten pouches in totality. Dante and Virgil encounter the simonists in
the thirid pouch and as well as the soul of Nocholas III. The former pope mistakes Dante for his