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Dante s The Inferno

Dante s The Inferno

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Dante s The Inferno

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    1. Dantes The Inferno An Introduction for English 2332

    2. Author Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) The complete title of Dantes work is il Commedia Divinia (The Divine Comedy). Epic poem in terza rima (tercets or groups of three lines with interlocking rhymes: aba, bcb, cdc. Italian original. A trilogy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso. Each volume divided into sections called Cantos. Recommended translations: John D. Sinclair, Allen Mandelbaum

    3. Time & Place 1302-1321. Late Middle Ages, early Renaissance. Italy

    4. Synopsis The Inferno is an account of Dante's own journey, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, through the nine levels of hell. During this journey Dante (the poet himself is a character in the poem) encounters and holds conversations with pagan souls (non-believers who have been condemned). Aristotle and Homer are among the characters met. At the end of the journey, Dante must face Satan and confront the problem of how to escape from the underworld.

    5. Main Issues (Themes and Questions) Writing The Divine Comedy was for Dante a means of addressing personal and social, political, and historical problems The afterlife is portrayed as a figure or symbol for the material realities, spiritual nature, and consequences of the secular world (what happens to one who becomes obsessed with the material rather than the spiritual).

    6. Concept of Contrapasso The sin equals the punishment; sinning is its own hell as it destroys the very life of the sinner

    7. Significance of the journey for Dante Journey as a means for working out and overcoming Dante's personal anger against those who victimized him and exiled him from Florence

    8. Another theme The work is the journey of a soul to its redemption, the search through hell to find true love. Ultimate challenge of the text is that of embracing love, forgiving, and rejecting anger and evil; reunion with Beatrice as symbol of that accomplishment

    9. Works Cited Davis, et. al. The Bedford Anthology of World Literature. Volume 2. NY: St. Martins, 2004.