Essay Dante Cantos

Essay Dante Cantos-58
Frederick II was well known for his lead capes with which he punished criminals.

Frederick II was well known for his lead capes with which he punished criminals.Dante places all of the hypocrites in “gilded” cloaks that “dazzled; but inside they were all of lead, so heavy that Frederick’s capes were straw compared to them.” Dante uses this analogy to Frederick to demonstrate the extent of cruelty of his cloaks in The Inferno.

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It takes a certain amount of background knowledge and understanding of Dante’s own life to appreciate the lessons brought forth in each canto and in the Canto I both foreshadows and reveals the ultimate source of allegory for Dante.

As mentioned, for Dante, life in Florence was his own hell.

Dante’s punishment for the “arch heretics and those who followed them” was that they be “ensepulchered” and to have some tombs “heated more, some less.” Since the archheretics believed that everything died with the body and that there was no soul, Dante not only punishes them with the hot and crowded tombs, but he punishes them with their beliefs and lets them feel what it is like to die.

This punishment by Dante is one in which he was more focused on inflicting a physical pain rather than a mental one.

There, Dante must suffer and take time to review his actions.

The entirety of the Inferno reflects this, however, Canto I does go in depth on an allegorical level regarding the journey itself.In each of these cantos, something deeper is revealed on an allegorical level by both the sin and the sinners representative of each circle of hell.Before beginning, it is important to define what an allegory is in the way that affects the focus of this paper.The way that Dante compares one of the most evil punishments to those in his Inferno effectively demonstrates how horrible Hell truly is.Although this punishment for the hypocrites is quite physically painful, it contains a rather brilliant metaphor.For Dante, the hypocrites were those who were seemingly virtuous and good, but beneath their facades they were quite sinful.The cloaks are a metaphor for the hypocrites’ characters: dazzling on the surface and cloaked in lead or sin underneath.The penalty in the medieval era for heresy was often public humiliation or to burn to death.For Dante, to be a heretic was to follow one’s own opinion and not the beliefs of the Christian Church.In this journey, Dante encounters beasts, sinners, and even people from his own past in each canto, as he begins to better himself in the hopes for salvation in the future.In each canto, a particular sin and sinners who have been charged as guilty of committing that sin are revealed in an allegorical manner, however, this essay will only focus on three: cantos I, XIII, and XXI.


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