Inferno Cantos XVII-XXXIV of Divine Comedy by Dante
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is one of the most well-known poems in history. It depicts a journey of a soul after death through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Consequently, the examined part – Inferno Cantos XVII-XXXIV – describes the Eighth and Ninth Circles of Hell and provides fascinating insights into the culture of the Middle Ages. At the time, religion was an integral part of the culture, while the concepts of Hell and Heaven were significant to most people. Consequently, it is possible to analyze Inferno Cantos XVII-XXXIV to understand what people thought of such sins as Fraud and Treachery.
During the journey, Dante noticed countless shades of people who were forced to stay in Hell because of their sins during life. For instance, Canto XVIII tells the story of Venedico Caccianimco, who tricked his own sister into prostitution and, thus, was assigned to the Eighth Circle of Hell for Fraud. Venedico tells Dante, “I was the one who the fair Ghisola induced to grant the wishes of the Marquis” (Alighieri 75). Thus, the author transparently demonstrates his position toward panderers, thieves, and hypocrites by assigning them to Hell. Consequently, Dante travels through the Eighth and Ninth Circles learning the stories of sinners and their punishment.
Ultimately, Alighieri’s epic poem reflects people’s cultural and religious values in the Middle Ages, explicitly regarding sins. As a result, Divine Comedy is not only an excellent literary piece but also a significant source for historical studies. Inferno Cantos XVII-XXXIV concern the sins of Fraud and Treachery, revealing the author’s negative perspective of hypocrisy, betrayal, and corruption. Thus, Alighieri condemns criminals by showing the representation of the afterlife according to the medieval worldview.
Alighieri, Dante. “Divine Comedy.” Feedbooks, n.d. Web.