Dante's Purpose in Inferno

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Zachary Bloye Inferno Essay (Dante’s purpose) NLGC Honors 11/20/13 God’s Supreme Power in Inferno Sinners being tossed around endlessly in hurricane winds, devils tearing flesh from bodies with their whips, people who are being continuously covered in their own excrement, and men who are being tortured by having their genitalia torn from their bodies by the teeth of serpents. All of these gruesome events take place in the highly unique poem, Inferno. As Dante Alighieri categorizes Hell into three sections, he explains his journey throughout Inferno with the purpose of proving God’s power to be supreme, accomplishing this through the literary devices of imagery and mood. As the story commences, Alighieri’s poem works through various moods to show the ultimate strength of the Almighty One, starting with the first section of Hell, which consists of sinners of incontinence. To start, the lukewarm spirits are stung to the point that their “faces irrigate with blood,” which brings with it a feeling of justification (Alighieri III). As the Bible clearly states that it is better to be completely against God than a lukewarm, uncaring soul, the neutral sinners are given the punishment that they deserve, proving God to be one of justice, and supremacy. Next, as Dante travels on to the first circle of Hell the reader comes across a mood of hopelessness; moreover, the sinners are “without hope” as they “live on in desire,” replicating a humanly life without God (Alighieri IV). The mood in this canto acts as a tool to show “the holy power” of God in the way that dark feelings arrive in the midst of his absence, making him light (Acocella). After this, Dante approaches an “infernal hurricane that never rests,” and creates a chaotic atmosphere for the reader (Alighieri V). Here, God’s physical strength is shown by the use of the most powerful natural disaster known to man,
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