Inferno Research Paper

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AP Literature Research Paper of Dante’s Inferno By Brian McCaughey In the book Inferno by Dante Alighieri, the main character is led by the spirit Virgil through the nine layers of Hell. During this journey, Dante encounters many sinners that have been condemned to Hell for sins ranging from being unbaptized (layer 1) to treachery against man and country (layer 9), with each layer being more torturous than the previous. Many characters from a range of novels can be categorized into at least one of the layers of Hell based on whatever sin they committed. One character that could be condemned to Hell is George Wilson from The Great Gatsby. He was responsible for not only the murder of Jay Gatsby but also his own suicide. Assuming that these two crimes are the worst that Wilson committed, he would be condemned to the seventh layer of Hell, which is the layer that punishes sinners for violence. This layer is divided into three different rings, each worse than the last. The first is murder, which condemns murderers to be boiled in blood eternally, as they “wallowed in blood in their own lifetimes.” However, George would not be placed in this ring, because the offense for suicide is greater than that for murder. The punishment for those who have committed suicide is to be placed in the second ring of the seventh layer. In this ring, sinners are turned into trees and other various shrubberies, which are eternally fed upon by harpies. Whenever they regrow, which they always will, they continue to be fed upon and tortured by the harpies. As with all the other layers, the torture is symbolic to the sin. In life, they were committed to self-destruction, so in death they are forced to face the destruction of their new form. So, assuming that destruction of self was Wilson’s greatest sin, he would end up condemned to the second ring of the seventh layer of Hell. Also

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