Divine Comedy-I: Inferno



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This Roman poet wrote the Aeneid, which dealt in part with the adventures of Aeneas, who descended to the underworld. This may be why Dante chose to use him as a guide in his poem. The fictional Virgil is like an older, stronger, and wiser version of Dante himself: they seem to share the same moral beliefs, and of course they are both poets. Virgil's attitude toward Dante is appropriately paternal: he shows Dante the right way and even lifts him up and carries him if necessary. However he will also scold Dante if his charge shows an unbecoming interest in an infernal squabble. Unlike Dante, Virgil is a true inhabitant of Hell: he is a damned soul, though a virtuous man. This colors his character with a calm despair which is not seen in the fiery Florentine.