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Ty Thompson

Mr. Palcsey
Honors English 10
March 11, 2018
Plot Progression with Politics

The inferno, by Dante Alighieri, is a 33 Canto poem written in the 14th century. The

Divine Comedy showcases Dante, the poet and politician, as he ventures through Hell,

Purgatory, and Heaven. In the Inferno, Dante travels through Hell on a quest to reject sin and

reach divine light. He is guided by Virgil, a famous Roman poet and Dante's "idol", who is

placed among the virtuous gentiles in Hell. Dante's story contains many analogies to what he is

going through in his real life. He experiences many encounters warning him of the future

pertaining to his political status and the wellbeing of Florence Italy. These political encounters

advance the plot by giving Dante incentive to reject sin and change his ways to avoid conflict in

the real world and be united with God in the future.

Dante Alighieri was a large political figure in Florence Italy during the 14th century. He

was very passionate about his career but was accused of grafting, or using his social status for

personal gain. Dante was then exiled to the island of Patmos while Florence Italy suffered due to

the lack of political leadership. It is noted in an encounter with some Florentine souls that the

political well-being of Florence, before Dante's exile, was in danger of losing much of the

progress he had worked for. This is shown when Dante says to the souls, "For Borsiere, who is

newly come among us and yonder goes with our companions in pain, taunts us with such reports,

and his words have stung us" (Alighieri 129). The meaning of this quote is that a new man has

come into the ring of the political conflict. Dante believes this man is destroying everything he,

and his predecessors have worked for. This analogy of the status of Florence gives context to

why Dante would resort to sinful ways for personal gain. Context to what he has done is given in
Circle 8 among the Grafters. Virgil tells Dante to hide in fear that the demons here will harm or

attack Dante. This is the only time where Virgil is genuinely concerned for Dante's well-being,

because he was accused of Grafting in his exile to Patmos. This small detail gives us incite to

what Dante has done in his personal life that caused this journey to reject sin.

The political analogies in the adventure advance the plot by providing context to the

reader. The connections between the personal life of the poet and politician Dante Alighieri give

reason for the journey and showcase Alighieri's remorse for what he has done. The connections

give reason for the trip by warning Dante of what is to come if he continues to go down this path

of sin. The goal of these connections is to push Dante away from sin in order to reach his goal of

being united with God. If the references to Alighieri's real life were not present, the story would

have little to no context or reasoning for such a journey. Because of these references it is clear

that Dante is ashamed of his actions, and he needs to grow away from sin to be united with God

in Heaven.

Works Cited:

Alighieri, Dante. Inferno, Dante Alighieri. Spark Publishing, 2015.