Divine Comedy-I: Inferno

Dante: The Sinner vs. the Sin

Often when we set out to journey in ourselves, we come to places that surprise us with their strangeness. Expecting to see what is straightforward and acceptable, we suddenly run across the exceptions. Just as we as selfexaminers might encounter our inner demons, so does Dante the writer as he sets out to walk through his Inferno. Dante explains his universe - in terms physical, political, and spiritual - in the Divine Comedy. He also gives his readers a glimpse into his own perception of what constitutes sin. By portraying characters in specific ways, Dante the writer can shape what Dante the pilgrim feels about each sinner. Also, the reader can look deeper in the text and examine the feelings that Dante, as a writer and exiled Florentine, may have felt about his particular characters. Dante shows through his poetry some admiration for certain sinners, as if in life he had reason to respect their actions on earth, only to mourn their souls' fate. In the case of Pier Delle Vigne, it is clear that Dante wishes to clear the name of the damned soul that has been conscripted to hell for the shame of unjust dishonor.

At the beginning of Canto 13 we find Dante the pilgrim entering the wood of the suicides. He has grown stronger in...

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