The Aeneid

Classical Cannibalism: Personified Vice in Homer and Dante College

Have you eaten today? If not, then perhaps it is best that you do, before continuing with this essay. The reason for caution lies in the overlying theme discussed from here on. Both Dante’s Divine Comedy and Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey are similar in that they concern themselves with the virtues and vices of man. This is done by placing the main character in various situations where a certain trait is represented either directly or symbolically. While The Comedy in itself is a great work of human insight, it important to note that Dante, in turn, was continuing a tradition of epic narrative, following in Homer's and Virgil’s example. This fact is manifested in many similarities between their texts. Among the most curious of these, is the theme of cannibalism. Few things are as revolting to the human society as a cannibal, however both Dante and the ancient Greek that inspired him, have successfully used them as loaded allegories of various human vices.

Dante's Inferno is the first section of his epic narrative poem titled the Divine Comedy. In this poem, the main character, Dante in the role of the pilgrim, traverses the three major worlds of the Christian religion: Hell, Purgatory, and at last Heaven. His guide is none other...

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