Dante's Inferno Essay

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Jacquan Spruill Prof. Dexter Marks Civilizations I November 26, 2012 Assignment 4 First Draft The concept of a "personal hell" has always been central to the development of a main character in a story, as it helps the protagonist overcome adversity and eventually reach his/her goal. In Dante’s Inferno and Virgil’s Aeneid, the journey through the underworld surfaces as each stories’ respective protagonist must travel through the underworld in order to reach their goal as well as find solace within their lives. Both texts, although they are very similar, have certain differences in structure which broaden the understanding of the underworld. Dante’s Inferno presents the underworld from a design which embodies ideas that come from religious beliefs making it a more profound personal hell. Dante’s Inferno is written with more of a defined structure than Virgil’s Aeneid despite the apparent similarities between the two texts. In the Inferno, Dante’s description of hell isn’t simply a place of perils in which souls are sentenced for wrongdoings. It is more profound as it has many levels for specific sins which are marked by boundaries. Dante's construction of hell based on levels for particular sins is one of the most unique perspectives for his underworld which differs from Virgil's underworld. In Virgil's underworld, everyone sins equally and therefore is entitled to equal punishment. From a religious perspective, the distinction between these levels is representative of the deadly sins which explains why Dante's underworld contains levels of hell and levels of sin, and this distinguishing characteristic means that the punishment for those sins is equitable for the sinner. One of the simplest lines written in Dante’s Inferno that encompasses the dismal feeling of entering the underworld is "All hope abandon, ye who enter here." (Inferno, Canto III). The

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